Two arrested, protesters removed at Windsor Bridge protest

Two men were arrested and several women will be given infringement notices after police broke up a protest in the Hawkesbury region on Monday.

About 100 people including federal politicians gathered at Windsor Bridge from 6am, to call for work on the bridge replacement project to halt until a government inquiry into the project is complete.

The site has historical significance, with early road paving and other artefacts discovered nearby. A salvage operation has begun to recover any artefacts in the area before construction continues.

Police remove protestors from the Windsor Bridge construction site on Monday. Photo: Geoff Jones

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and member for Macquarie Susan Templeman were among those who linked arms at the site, where protestors held signs including “stop trashing our town” and “save our square”.

Just after 9am, the demonstrators were forcibly removed when a gate at the site was blocked, leaving workers unable to enter.

Macquarie MP Susan Templeman MP and The n Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon were among protesters moved by police to allow workers onto the Thompson Square site this morning.Posted by The Hawkesbury Gazette on Sunday, 7 January 2018

One woman was knocked to the ground and began to scream, while another repeatedly said “do not manhandle me” through a megaphone. The men and women were then held back to allow a truck to back in.

Protestors linked arms and held signs as police began to separate them. Photo: Geoff Jones

A NSW Police spokeswoman said two men were arrested and several other people are expected to receive infringement notices following the “unauthorised” protest in Thompson Square.

Officers from Hawkesbury Local Area Command arrived at the site at 7.30am and gave three warnings to move on, the spokeswoman said, but those orders were allegedly disobeyed.

“Legal action is expected to be taken against two men, aged 68 and 59, for resisting police,” the spokeswoman said.

“Several people, including a 66-year-old woman and a 54-year-old woman, are expected to receive infringements for disobeying a police direction for safe and efficient flow of traffic. Inquiries continue.”

In a post on Facebook, Ms Templeman said the destruction of colonial and Aboriginal artefacts at the site would be a “tragedy”.

“Today’s non-violent protest reflected enormous frustration by Hawkesbury citizens and supporters that neither the NSW or federal governments is standing up for ‘s earliest heritage,” she said.

“What’s been uncovered during the archaeological work proves the significance of this site.”

A committee chaired by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Robert Brown is examining the effectiveness of replacing the bridge, which was first opened in 1874. The committee is due to report in late June.

with Krystyna Pollard

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