Seven climate change activists are facing charges including assaulting police after a raid on a rural property northwest of Sydney where police say unauthorised protests were being planned.
NSW Police say when they arrived at a property in Colo about 8.30am on Sunday they were surrounded by a group of people and the tyres of an unmarked police vehicle were damaged, rendering it undrivable.
Police Minister Paul Toole said officers feared for their lives and called for back-up from PolAir, the Dog Unit, the Public Order and Riot Squad, Police Rescue, the Raptor Squad and Operations Support Group.
“They feared for their life because these extreme protesters surrounded them, they pushed them and they even slashed or let down the tyres of a police vehicle,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.
The group of about 30 were using the rural property as a training camp for more climate protests in Sydney, Mr Toole said.
“I’m absolutely furious about the way these protesters think they can shut down Sydney for a whole week,” he said.
NSW Police established Strike Force Guard in March to prevent, investigate and disrupt unauthorised protests after activists from Blockade Australia demonstrated on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Spit Bridge and Port Botany.
Five men and two women aged between 20 and 35 were charged with various offences including affray, damaging property, and assaulting, intimidating and obstructing police.
All seven people were refused bail and will appear in Penrith Local Court on Monday.