Laws across Australia have shifted significantly to limit protest and are being used to restrain or intimidate those who speak up

You don’t have to believe that Deanna Coco’s climate protest blocking traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge was a good idea, or helped her cause. But being sent to prison until July and denied bail while she lodges an appeal against the sentence was a bad day for democratic expression in Australia.

Coco, 32 years old and known as Violet, was part of a group of four protesters from the activist group Fireproof Australia who blocked a southbound lane on the bridge just before 8.30am on 13 April this year. While others held a banner and glued themselves to the road, Coco climbed on to the roof of a hired van and set off a flare. When police arrived, she resisted arrest.

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