Angel of Peace Arrives at Bentley Blockade

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by Marie Cameron (A woman with a camera) / Echo 

The Bentley blockade has completed its second month and CSG miner Metgasco has yet to get anything through their front gate.

Two weeks behind schedule, and with increased blockade pressure, Metgasco can only rely on the force of the police to get its equipment in.

Monday saw a carnival atmosphere at the all-important Rosella gate A when the Peace Angel arrived. In the heavy dawn mist people waited to greet her.

As the sun rose over the range, there she stood, peaceful and playful on top of a bamboo tripod. Silhouetted in the ball of light she unfurled her wings and peace rolled over the blockade and farmlands.

People stood quietly to enjoy the beauty that unfolded before them. The Peace Angel rarely makes a public appearance and the word very quickly spread bringing more people to the front line.

The Peace Angel was suspended above a concrete installation known as The Hub. Set close to the Rosella site gate, this multi-purposed tub of concrete awaits Metgasco and only then will its reasons for existence be fully known.

In the meantime it’s populated by a rotating team of protectors.

Great-grandmother Ruth Haig sat watching. Having raised her family and now in retirement in Kyogle, Ruth is a regular at the blockade.

Talking about eco-justice Ruth said, ‘I’ve been involved in caring for the Earth all my life’.

‘The forces of capitalism have dumbed down the whole population,’ she said.

‘In the 70s we understood our connection: now, the life support system has been lost.

‘It’s all about money and money has no connection whatsoever. I’ve got great grandchildren and I’m really sad things have gone the way they have,’ Ruth said.

In the presence of the Peace Angel, Lock the Gate and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokespeople Ian Gaillard, Adam Guise and Aidan Ricketts updated the crowd on the current state of play.

Gaillard also advised people of a dangerous situation affecting the earth wall directly across the road to Gate A, where a large section of the earth had split from the bank and was now freestanding and could fall at any point.

He had advised the police and they would arrive to inspect it and the site during the day.  When the police did arrive people went into lockdown mode; the police filmed all before them but did not get close to any of the installations.

Githabul elder Kevin Boota spoke to the crowd about a planed and major Aboriginal gathering of the clans to discuss the traditional ownership of land and CSG mining.

The nearby Liberation Camp has reached a high level of occupancy.

With its Primitive Camping permit in place, it does not allow for people to shower and cook.

Regardless, people keep arriving in preparation for next week. The new meeting place known as the Tarp-Mahal stands in central position.

Lock the Gate has asked for people to continue to arrive at the blockade for a 5am start.

All eyes are on next Monday 31 March when it is expected police will enforce Metgasco’s entry to the Rosella 1 site so the CSG juggernaut can begin.

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