Northern Territory Police and the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service have been responding to increased protest activity in Alice Springs.
During the early hours of Monday, protesters again attempted to block access to Pine Gap through Hatt Road. Two woman, aged 32 and 39, locked themselves to a 44-gallon drum filled with concrete.
Police attempted to negotiate with the pair, who refused to stop blocking the road, resulting in diversions being implemented around the protestors to allow workers access to Pine Gap.
Firefighters attended the scene and removed them from the concrete with specialised equipment.
Both have since been issued Notices to Appear for summary traffic offences and are due to appear in Alice Springs Local Court on 22 February 2024.
Commander James Gray-Spence said, “The Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services have always respected the right to protest.
“We do not support protest tactics that involve committing offences that diverts emergency resources away from critical care and response.
“Six police officers were required to attend this incident and negotiate with the protestors, provide traffic control, not to mention the hours of work that go into issuing Notices to Appear and following up court proceedings.
“These police officers were taken away from priority tasks including domestic violence response and preventing crime and antisocial behaviour.
“The message from police is clear: if you are participating in unlawful activity, police will take action.”
District Officer Stephen Hunter said, “These illegal protest activities are severely impacting the Alice Springs community by reducing our capability to respond to emergency incidents.
“Four firefighters were required to attend the protest to remove the two women from a concrete block safely. These members can’t be quickly deployed to house fires, wildfires and car crashes.
“There are reasonable alternatives to unlawful protest activity that allow emergency services time to prepare and monitor and don’t negatively impact the people of Alice Springs.”