POLICE HAVE ARRESTED 11 people who allegedly forced their way on to farms in Queensland’s south west, as part of wide-spread animal cruelty protests.
Detectives from Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural), State Crime Command, together with officers from the Darling Downs, Moreton, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast were involved in the operation.
It’s alleged the group is responsible for trespassing incidents at “agricultural locations” in late March and early April.
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They were arrested at a number of locations across South East Queensland late Tuesday and slapped with a total of 18 charges, including unlawfully entering farming land (trespass) and drug offences.
A 29-year-old woman and 26-year-old man were previously charged with unlawfully entering farming land (trespass) on April 5 and were bailed to appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on May 9.
Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker, Drug and Serious Crime Group, State Crime Command, said the charges followed formal complaints from the owners of properties targeted by unauthorised protests.
“The Queensland Police Service respects the right of people to protest in a peaceful manner, however we have a duty to ensure the safety of protesters, farm workers and property owners,’ Detective Superintendent Wacker said.
“Unauthorised protests in and around farmlands and industrial areas create significant personal and workplace safety risks.
“We will take enforcement action whenever necessary to ensure the safety of the community and to protect the rights of people to feel safe in their homes and at their place of work.”
The Queensland Government recently introduced tougher laws for those who trespass on farms and abattoirs, including fines of more than $600 and possible jail time.
You can also report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.