Sydney: Police make fresh arrests at anti-Westconnex occupation in Haberfeild

Bill Holliday being carried out of 27 Wattle St

May 16 – Two residents who occupied an apartment in a forcibly acquired block in Haberfield to protest its destruction for WestCONnex were arrested yesterday and charged with trespass.

The pair occupied 27 Wattle St overnight after its former residents were forced to leave. The property is due to be demolished and replaced with a WestCONnex construction site.

“We were prepared to stay as long as we could,” said Bill Holliday, 67, one of the two men arrested.

“The home was just a delight – beautifully renovated and lovingly cared for. To demolish places like these is just a travesty when so many people in Sydney are struggling to find homes.

TWO RESIDENTS ARRESTED AND CHARGED AFTER WESTCONNEX HABERFIELD PROTEST

April 30 – Two residents who occupied the roof of a forcibly acquired home in Haberfield to protect it from WestCONnex destruction this morning have been arrested and charged with trespass.

Haberfield rooftop occupation

Paul Jeffery, 62, and Chris Elenor, 65, spent four hours on the roof of 1 Wolseley St within the Haberfield conservation area. They decided to occupy the roof after the former family home was fenced off for demolition to make way for a WestCONnex construction compound.

“We took this stand to show solidarity with the hundreds of people who are losing their homes and businesses to this toll road,” said Mr Jeffery.

“We also wanted to stand up for our communities, which will suffer terribly from the toxic pollution and traffic WestCONnex will cause, and the people of NSW, who are being forced to pay for this $16.8 billion disaster through tolls and taxes.

“We wouldn’t have done this if the Baird Government had actually consulted with our communities, and listened to experts who’ve made it clear that WestCONnex will make Sydney’s traffic congestion worse.

“Instead, they’ve ignored the experts and treated residents with contempt in their rush to hand over billions of taxpayer dollars to companies accused of corruption,” said Mr Jeffery.

“We are so grateful to Paul and Chris for taking this brave stand to protect our city from WestCONnex,” said WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Pauline Lockie.

“More and more people are now realising that Mike Baird’s WestCONnex will be a economic, social and environmental disaster.

Two WestConnex protesters arrested after refusing to leave Haberfield house

April 16 – Two protesters have been arrested after refusing to leave a house slated for demolition as part of the WestConnex motorway project.Sydney residents Bill Holliday and Sharon Laura were detained on Saturday morning after spending the night inside the fenced-off house in Haberfield.

Bill Holliday was arrested for refusing to leave a home in Haberfield due to be demolished.Bill Holliday was arrested for refusing to leave a home in Haberfield due to be demolished. Photo: Supplied

The suburb is heritage-listed as a Conservation Area and the house, which did not belong to either of the protesters, had been compulsorily acquired to make way for a construction site for WestConnex.

The 33-kilometre road project is due to be opened to traffic by 2023 and will see the M4 and M5 widened, extended and joined together.

Mr Holliday, whose home in Lilyfield will also be affected by the motorway, was carried out of the house by two officers and placed into a police wagon.

WestConnex protesters in Haberfield on Saturday morning.WestConnex protesters in Haberfield on Saturday morning. Photo: Sarah Keayes

He said he was not injured and the police had treated him kindly while he was in custody.

The last time he was arrested was in 1974, when he was protesting the construction of an expressway near Glebe.

“I insisted that I was a non-violent protester and just allowing myself to be carried out is necessary,” Mr Holliday said.

“It was deliberate. The topic of WestConnex has not had the attention that it deserves.”

The pair were released from Burwood Police Station without charge about 45 minutes after being taken into custody.

Ms Laura, a Haberfield resident, said they had not been deterred from participating in future protests.

“It’s sort of like an act of desperation, to be honest. We have a very firm belief that this a project that has been badly planned and badly executed,” she said.

Several people stayed inside the Haberfield house overnight, Ms Laura said, and a dozen or so protesters gathered outside with placards.

A Sydney Motorway Corporation spokesman said four protesters had illegally entered the house.

“Any illegal behaviour that seeks to intentionally disturb local residents and jeopardise individual safety cannot be condoned and is unacceptable,” the spokesman said.

“Individuals that choose to enter these properties without authorisation are given every opportunity to leave. If this is ignored police assistance may be requested to ensure the safety of all involved.”

WestConnex protests have been an increasingly familiar sight, with residents opposed to the project standing in the way of trucks, occupying construction sites and hold snap rallies around Sydney.

Last February, academic Peter Ross was arrested and charged with trespassing after locking himself to a drilling rig in St Peters.

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