Investigations continue into unauthorised protest activity as further disruptions planned next week

Thursday, 23 June 2022 01:37:57 PM

Investigators are continuing to conduct inquiries and target those planning on taking part in alleged unauthorised protests across the city.

The NSW Police Force formed Strike Force Guard in March this year, to prevent, investigate and disrupt unauthorised protests across the state.

The strike force was established after a number of unauthorised protests took place in Port Botany and across the city that were designed to disrupt commercial activity.

Following extensive inquiries, police were conducting planned investigations at a property on Putty Road in Colo on Sunday (19 June 2022), when they were allegedly confronted and assaulted by a group.

Officers from neighbouring commands and specialist units attended the scene and arrested seven people. Another person was arrested on Monday and the eight remain before the courts.

The continued investigations come as police warn the public to expect disruptions next week with protest activity likely to take place across the city.

There will be a highly visible police operation running for the week, commencing Monday 27 June 2022, to prevent and disrupt unauthorised protests and limit the impact on the broader community.

Strike Force Guard will include general duties officers and detectives from Central Metropolitan Region, analysts from State Intelligence Command, operatives from Operations Support Group and the Public Order and Riot Squad, and specialist officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, PolAir, Marine Area Command and Police Rescue.

Strike Force Guard Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan, said police will be out in force across the city next week and will not tolerate anyone intent on causing disruptions or putting lives at risk.

“Police have been made aware that unauthorised protest activity is planned to take place across the city next week so the public need to be warned to expect disruptions,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Dunstan said.

“It is clear from our investigations so far that this group remains intent on causing significant disruptions next week to motorists and members of the public through reckless and dangerous activities.

“These activities are not only dangerous to themselves, but they put the lives of members of the public and those rescuing them at risk.

“It is incredibly disappointing that they want to cause this inconvenience to good people who are just going about their business, especially given the hard times many have gone through in recent years due to the pandemic.

“While we will be out in force targeting these groups and working to minimise disruptions, we need to stress to motorists and those using the public transport system there may still be disruptions.

“We will clear them as quickly as is possible, arrest those committing offences and put them before the court. We ask the public to assist us with this; if you see anything you think may be connected with these people, call us, and we will respond and take action.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said those who engage in unauthorised protests have no regard for their fellow citizens.

“This isn’t peaceful protesting, these are people pulling stunts that put lives at risk and stop people trying to get work and get their kids to school and police simply won’t tolerate it,” Mr Toole said.

“Under the recently strengthened laws we have seen protestors receive heavy fines, jail terms and some even being deported.”

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.