Protesters clash with police again over contentious Melbourne road link

ABC: Protesters clash with police again over contentious Melbourne road link. Updated Wed 18 Dec 2013

There have been more angry protests at the site of works on the controversial Melbourne road project, the East West Link.

Work got underway at one test drilling site in Fitzroy after it was surrounded by police.

Then protesters rushed a second test drilling site nearby.

They tore down temporary fencing and clashed with workers before riot police rushed to the scene.

There were more angry clashes with police and a number of protesters were thrown to the ground.

The second drilling rig was shut down after protesters climbed onto the equipment.

Rosie Elliot, 60, of Fitzroy North, says she suffered a serious leg injury in the clashes and says she will take legal action against police.

“One of them specifically punched me in the face,” she said.

“I saw his fist go back. He was looking at me. He punched me specifically in the face.

“There were police kicking me. I don’t know whether they got me.

“I think one of them dropped on my leg while it was at a strange angle, deliberately from quite a height.”

Protesters condemned for ‘outlandish’ behaviour

Police Commander Rick Nugent says people are free to make complaints against police and he defended the actions of his officers.

“We had the fences pulled down around the drill site which was actually operating. It is quite dangerous,” he said.

Protesters knock down fence at East West link demonstration
PHOTO: Protesters knocked down a fence around a temporary drilling site and clashed with police. (ABC News)
“It may well be that police did have to use force. In fact I’m aware that one person was arrested for assaulting police earlier this morning.”

Transport Minister Terry Mulder has condemned the action calling says the protesters’ behaviour “outlandish.”

He says the protests will not keep the project from going ahead.

“They are small in number (of protesters) for the size of the project that will benefit Melbourne and it will have enormous flow on benefits for regional Victoria as well,” he said.

The protesters are threatening to escalate their protest by blocking Alexandra Parade, a major road through inner Melbourne.

It is the third day in a row that protesters have clashed with police in an attempt to prevent works on the first stage of the 18 kilometre road link.

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