Fairfield Uniting Church minister Rev Alex Sangster was one of six people arrested on 5 September at a blockade by religious environmental activists at the proposed Adani coal mine in Central Queensland.
Alex was one of three religious leaders arrested, along with three lay people, when they refused a “move on” order by police while holding a religious ritual of prayer and song in the direct route of Adani contractors, preventing them from entering the workers’ camp.
After being forcibly moved, the activists were released without charge.
The group called on Adani Group founder and chairman Gautam Adani to stop work on the giant coal project, which was approved earlier this year by the Queensland Government.
“Today, we wrote to Mr Adani and asked him to walk away from this mine,” Alex said.
“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 Great Barrier Reef and the climate.
“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.”
Ordained Buddhist monks Dharmacari Tejopala and Dharmacari Aryadharma and lay Christians Mark Delaney, James Thom and Angela Merriam were also among those arrested, while six other Christians took part in the blockade.
Alex said civil resistance was something faith-based movements were called to and encouraged others to engage in similar non-violent protest to stop climate change.
“Today we’re calling on people of all faiths to come here do the same thing,” she said.
“Our children and grandchildren will be grateful that there were people of faith who had the courage to take this form of action to resist the particular evil we face today.”