‘Idiot’ protesters blasted by city leaders
TOWNSVILLE civic leaders have strongly condemned anti-Adani protesters blockading a local business, with one Labor politician describing them as "idiots" who are not welcome in the community.
Two women from protest group Frontline Action on Coal locked themselves to the gates of Bohle-based pipe manufacturer Iplex using bicycle locks on Tuesday morning, demanding the company withdrew its tender to supply pipes to Adani's Carmichael mine.
The act prompted swift and harsh condemnation from Townsville civic leaders.
Townsville Enterprise chief executive Patricia O'Callaghan, addressing stakeholders at a business breakfast, said the community needed to take a "strong stand" and condemn these types of protests.
"We do not accept it in the north, we are very proud of our resources sector," she said.
"And to hear that our small businesses are now having to deal with this when they are just trying to earn an honest dollar is very disturbing and we should come out strongly against that.
"(Protesters) could not win against Adani in the courts, they could not win by trying to influence legislation on politicians, and we cannot let them win by trying to harass and intimidate our local businesses here in Townsville."
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said everyone had the right to protest peacefully but "idiots" that disrupt businesses were not welcome.
"When idiots come along and do these sort of stuff that disrupt businesses trying to do their job, they're not welcome in this city, they're not welcome in our community," he said.
"We won't accept that … particularly (the) impact on mum and dad business, the backbone of our community, is a disgrace.
"If it was me I'd leave them out there all day, leave them chained to the gate and don't give them any water."
The State Government last week announced it would be introducing a suite of laws to address "extremist" protesters.
Police would be given extra powers to search for "dangerous devices" protesters are commonly using to lock themselves on to rail lines or cause traffic mayhem in cities.
Mr Stewart said he did not believe a bike chain around the neck fit the definition of such devices.
An Adani spokeswoman said the mining giant would not confirm nor deny if Iplex was a contractor.
"We are all for people having their say providing people do it respectful and legal manner," she said.
"However these activists do not speak for everybody in the community, and it is un-Australian to have a minority group put businesses and their employees at risk when they deserve a fair go."
Police confirmed they were called to the business on Ingham Rd about 6am on Tuesday morning and moved more than 20 people bar two protesters who were locked to the gate.
A 68-year-old Nelly Bay woman and a 67-year-old Bilinga woman were charged with public nuisance, obstruct police and contravene direction.
They are due to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court in September.