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The right to protest is one that helps ensure we live in a democracy.
But an especially harsh sentence for a climate change protester this week has drawn criticism from human rights groups.
Environmental protester Deanna Coco was sentenced to 15 months’ prison for her actions on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in April, when she blocked a lane of traffic with a hired truck as part of the Fireproof Australia movement.
The UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of association and peaceful assembly, Clément Voule, said he was “alarmed” by the sentence and other human rights organisations concurred.
Coco received a non-parole period of eight months’ jail, and a $2500 fine. She will remain in custody until March when the courts will consider bail.
“Peaceful protesters should never be criminalised or imprisoned,” Voule said on Twitter.