East West Link protesters targeted under newly formed police team

ABC: East West Link protesters targeted under newly formed police team. By Tony Nicholls. Posted Wed 11 Dec 2013, 8:28am AEDT

Police have put together an incident management team to respond to the East West Tunnel protests.

The team includes senior operational and intelligence staff who were pivotal in managing the, sometimes, violent dispute between the construction company Grocon and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) last year.

In recent months police have had to remove East West Tunnel opponents who were disrupting test drilling and blockading businesses that are bidding for the multi-billion dollar tunnel project.

Rick Nugent heads the Victoria Police Incident Management team, he predicts that the protests will continue and is concerned that the protesters are not cooperating with police.

“They’ve demonstrated a degree of violence with the pushing and shoving. We haven’t seen anything greater than that, fortunately,” he said.

“Where they break the law they will be prosecuted. They know that. We’ve said that to them.”

East West Tunnel opponent Chris Dite says the Government has every reason to be nervous because the protest movement is getting bigger.

“The fact that they’re taking it that seriously shows that we’re on the right track,” he said.

“We’ve got to come up with a strategy that will take us through to winning and actually stopping (it) from happening

“So it’s a good sign they’re taking it so seriously.”

Commander Nugent says the incident response planning team meets regularly and can deploy additional police to protests within the hour.

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