Armidale doctor charged over protest

The Maules Creek mine site.

The Maules Creek mine site.

AN ARMIDALE doctor and three other medical colleagues have been charged after locking themselves together as part of a blockade at the Maules Creek Mine site.

A group of 13 medical professionals and students – dubbed Medics Against Coal – spent more than four hours chained together at the site on Saturday.

Protesters oppose clearing part of the Leard State Forest to make way for the new $767 million coalmine near Boggabri.

Medical professionals from around the country joined the action to highlight the mine’s health impacts, but their protest was short-lived.

Armidale doctor Sujata Allan, Adelaide doctor Ingo Weber, first-year medical intern Harry Jennens and Melbourne student Lin Wang locked themselves together by putting their arms in connected pipes.

The group’s spokesman, Ben Solity, said they voluntarily unlocked themselves about two hours after police arrived, as they had achieved their objective of highlighting the health impacts of coal to the world.

“They were very well aware of the consequences and the potential they would be arrested,” Mr Solity said.

“They were prepared to do whatever it took to do something to stop this mine.”

All four were charged with wilfully prevent free passage of a vehicle and pedestrian obstruct a driver’s path.

They were granted bail, to appear at Narrabri Local Court on Tuesday, May 27.  

Two other people – a 39-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman – were also arrested during the incident, but released pending further inquiries. 

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