Media Release from Greens Tweed Shire Councillor Katie Milne
A lot of questions need to be answered in relation to cancellation of the Byrill Ck stage and the media reporting. People need to calm down about this until the truth is established and the police do their job.
The SMH now has a story entitled 'Car Rally Rock Attacks False' yet our local media are still carrying on with the story. Garry Connolly of Rally Australia has stated to the SMH that "no cars were struck by rocks on Friday". Why did Garry let the media frenzy escalate for nearly a week before he clarified this?
Why has he not deigned to apologise for withholding this information and letting the vilification of the protestors go unchecked?
Why was there no qualification by media or police that this was all only alleged, and that according to Mr Connolly "there was never any evidence that cars were hit by rocks on that day"?
With all that police presence, dogs, trail bikes and helicopters with infa red technology, why was no one caught and not even a glimpse of the protestor recorded?
Why was there not even a photo released of the supposed boulders? Surely these boulders did not elude the police also? It's all too weird.
Whilst 12 laws were nullified to force this race through, people are still innocent until proven guilty, unless we have become a totally fascist state.
I have been criticised for not condemning this incident. Of course I condemn any violent protest action but how could I do that when there was no evidence that this happened? I was at Byrill Creek protesting peacefully and the first story I heard was that there were cows on the road. Then about 8 other stories followed, including that one of the drivers said that Byrill Ck was too dusty and the closeness of the trees made it too dangerous to race. I tried to see Superintendent Michael Kenny on Sunday when the rock throwing stories persisted but until Thursday I have had no reply.
The community appreciate the police assistance over the weekend especially when rally supporters tried to attack protestors on the two incidents I witnessed. But why has this or the others incidents of which I personally witnessed of projectiles been thrown at protestors not been reported in the media?
Violent and abusive behaviour by rally supporters escalated after the inflammatory reporting of the Byrill Ck incident with the worst report I heard of a car swerving into protestors at Kyogle where children were very close. Photographic evidence of a multitude of crossing double white lines by rally drivers was presented to Councillors on Tuesday. This is extremely life threatening behaviour but there is no condemnation of this by our pro rally Councillors or Mayor.
The reporting has been very one sided, hypocrisy abounds and it has been inciting hatred.
This has to stop. I am calling on all parties involved stop adding fuel to the fire and damaging the reputation of the No Rally groups and myself.
See also "Car rally rock attack story false" in the SMH of 10 Sep 09, "Missile shatters Rally car" in the Northern Star of 7 Sep 09. "Rock throwers halt world rally event", in the Herald Sun of 4 Sep 09.