TV Crew Held in Aus for Filming Protest Against Adani Coal Mine

Clement said that he was surprised at the arrest and claimed that the police did not ask him any questions.

Published22 Jul 2019, 01:25 PM IST
2 min read

A French television crew filming a protest against a newly-approved controversy-hit coal mine owned by Indian energy giant Adani in Queensland, Australia was arrested on Monday, 22 July, on charges of trespassing.

The Carmichael coal mine in north Queensland, which was approved in June, has been courting controversy due to its location near the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef.

Environmentalists have warned that coal mining in the area will have a disastrous impact on the reef and will threaten vulnerable local species.

Film Crew Ordered to Appear Before Court on 3 September

Reporter Hugo Clement, who works for French national TV broadcaster ‘France 2,’ and three members of his TV crew were arrested outside the Abbot Point coal terminal in Bowen in north Queensland while they were filming the protest.

“Three protesters, all in their 20s, were also arrested along with them,” police said.

The film crew was later granted bail and has been ordered to appear before the Bowen Magistrates’ Court on 3 September.

Strict bail conditions were imposed on Clement, under which he is banned from going within 20 kilometres of the Carmichael mine site. He is also prohibited from going within 100 metres from any other Adani site, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said in a report.

‘Don’t Understand Why Police Arrested Us’

Clement said that he was surprised at the arrest and claimed that the police did not ask him any questions.

“We were just filming the action of those people and we don’t know why but police decided to arrest us. I still don’t understand why. We are not part of the action, we are not activists, just journalists...we are not a danger, we did not block the railway. We were just filming, reporting what is going on here.”
ABC Report

“I think Adani is a big news topic here...That (the arrest) is very strange. It’s like they have something to hide, right? Because if you arrest a journalist and then you say to the journalist that he has to keep away from Adani’s sites, what’s happening on these sites?” Clement added.

He also questioned the bail conditions which restricted him from approaching Adani's sites.

"Why is it so important for the police to keep the journalists away from the sites?" he asked.

Meanwhile, in a statement, a police spokesman said, "The QPS (Queensland Police Service) supports lawful and peaceful protest and is committed to working with groups to plan and facilitate lawful activities."

The Adani Carmichael mine is set to become one of the world’s largest coal mines, with approval to produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal annually, and 2.3 billion tonnes over the life of the mine.

The Adani group entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of the greenfield Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and the Abbot Point port near Bowen in the north.

Last year, Adani said that it would fully fund the coal mine and rail project itself, but did not give an updated estimate of the cost of the mine.

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