Religious leaders arrested at Adani mine site

Three religious leaders, including a Uniting Church minister, and three lay people were arrested on Thursday September 5 at the site of Adani’s proposed Coal Mine in Central Queensland. Reverend Alex Sangster, Dharmacari Tejopala and Dharmacari Aryadharma refused a ‘move on order’ by police, along with Christians, Mark Delaney, James Thom and Angela Merriam.

Six other Christians joined them blocking work at the site and called on Gautam Adani to abandon the project. The group held a religious ritual of prayer and song in the direct route of Adani contractors preventing them from entering the workers’ camp.

“Today, we wrote to Mr Adani and asked him to walk away from this mine. We asked him to invest in Central Queensland by backing solar and wind instead. People need jobs, but this mine is not the answer. It will do so much damage to our water and, ultimately, the Reef and the climate,” said Uniting Church Minister, Reverend Alex Sangster.

“Just as importantly, the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council have made it clear that this place is sacred to them and we are here today to support them in protecting their ancestral home. Today we’re calling on people of all faiths to come here do the same thing,” said Alex.

Rev Rex Graham, a retired Uniting Church Minister, said, “There has been a lot of noise in the media lately portraying citizen activists as extremists or worse. Today we’re saying that people who risk arrest protecting our water, reef, climate and Wangan and Jagalingou land rights are good people who have been pushed into a corner.”

“Instead of demonising protestors, the Queensland Government would do well to promote their plan to diversify the local economy, so that no one is left behind as the world moves away from coal,” Rex continued.

For eight years the Wangan and Jagalingou had fought through the courts to retain Native Title. On August 29, the Queensland Government extinguished Native Title for the area which is Wangan and Jagalingou land, after having changed the law which would have prevented them from doing so. It is now available to Adani for their Carmichael Coal Mine. The Wangan and Jagalingou people nonetheless continue to have a strong spiritual and cultural connection to their country and, until recently, were holding ceremonies on it.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council is calling for public support through donations and an online pledge, to help them continue their resistance struggle.

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