FROZEN road kill is rumoured to be a surprise weapon of rogue anti-rally protesters, according to Superintendent Michael Kenny, the Local Area Commander of the Tweed-Byron Police.
Supt Kenny made the astonishing claims at a press conference at Kingscliff yesterday, while warning that protesters who crossed the line would be dealt with promptly by an expanded police presence in the Northern Rivers during the Australian leg of the World Rally Championship.
“Rumours abound. Some of the bizarre things are that there is road kill been put in freezers that is going to be thrown on to the road during the event,” he said.
“That's a rumour at best but I'm saying there are a lot of stories going around about this sort of madness that may or may not occur.”
With debate centred on the environmental credentials of the event, the motive for this tactic would be to discredit organisers - but it won't work, according to Repco Rally Australian chairman Garry Connelly.
“Other rallies have had threats from time to time, but I don't think they've ever had the threat of a frozen koala being thrown on a road before. That is really bizarre, but you have to expect the unexpected,” he said.
“That sort of thing will be easily detected. We have put in place a unique technology for the World Championship, in fact for motor sport - a unique road tracking system in relation to wildlife that may be injured during the event and we will have a very solid and conclusive, proven method of determining any road kill or any animal that is injured and we will be recording that and that will be in our report.”
Supt Kenny said had also been reports of other rumoured rogue protester behaviour, such as lighting fires to obscure the course and lying across roads.
“There’s been some bizarre issues that have come out from some other, might I say, rogue protest groups,” he said.
“Issues that were discussed in the media over a week ago in relation to the lighting of fires to create smoke to stop stages, that is ridiculous.
“So I would say to those people, don’t do anything that’s unsafe. Come and enjoy the event or stay away – because if they come to this event and they behave and create dangerous situations for
spectators, for drivers and co-drivers, they will be removed and prosecuted.
“If anyone was to lie on any part of the track it would put their lives in danger obviously, but also the lives of probably the spectators, the drivers and the co-drivers and that would be a very unsafe thing to.
“We would ask people to refrain from any activity of that sort.”
Supt Kenny said police had liaised with established groups, such as the No Rally Group and Seventh Generation.
“Those discussions have been fruitful and they intend to hold a number of peaceful protests and we support their right to do that,” he said.
Seventh Generation spokesman Peter Lanyon said his group planned only peaceful protests for the event, which runs through the Tweed and Kyogle Shires from tomorrow.
Mr Lanyon said he had heard of the ‘road kill rumour’ from police. He also said extreme measures by protesters would not be welcome.
“This type of thing absolutely hinders us,” he said. “We respect the right of people to protest but so long as they are not putting anyone in danger.”
Supt Kenny said more than 150 police would be in the region for the rally, including Highway Patrol,
Public Order and Riot Squad, Police Air Wing and the Dog Unit. The operation is named ‘Operation Palisade’.
Supt Kenny acknowledged police had ‘plumped out’ the number of officers available to ensure they could cope with any eventuality.
Read more...No Rally shenanigans: police
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