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Some of the activists who have flown to Broome to picket against Woodside Petroleum’s controversial Browse gas hub development are “professional protesters”, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says.

It was reported today there were plans to station more than 100 police indefinitely at the James Price Point project site, in anticipation of an influx of environmental activists because the company has resumed work now that the wet season has ended.

Mr Barnett said he hoped there would not be a repeat of the ugly scenes from last year when police clashed with protesters.

“I am aware that a significant number of protesters have flown into the area from around Australia, including what I might dub professional protesters,” he said.

“I think that is very unfortunate.”

Wilderness Society Kimberley campaign manager Glen Klatovsky said it was a waste of resources and money to send police “to crush the Broome community”, which had already been traumatised by last year’s heavy-handed use of law enforcers and Woodside’s own private security force.

Many local protesters, including elderly indigenous people, were hauled away by police last year and locked up, Mr Klatovsky said.

Mr Barnett again defended his insistence on James Price Point being the site for the project.

Those opposed to the location, including the Greens, have repeatedly called for Browse Basin gas to be piped south to Woodside’s existing North West Shelf facilities in the Pilbara region.

“I understand the differing points of view but I again state the West Australian government, through long negotiations conducted in good faith, reached agreement with the Kimberley Land Council … the Aboriginal people who legally represent that area according to the Native Title Act and the Federal Court,” Mr Barnett said.

Nigel Grazier, the vice-president of the project, said geotechnical studies had resumed on Friday.

There had been a significant increase in activity, with barges currently en route to James Price Point, Mr Grazier said.

AAP

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/browse-protesters-professional-barnett-20120511-1yho7.html#ixzz1up3nEd1V

Police move in as gas hub protest ramps up 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-11/kimberley-gas-hub-protest-ramps-up/4005110?section=business

More than 100 police are expected to arrive in Broome in coming days as Woodside resumes work on the Kimberley gas hub.

The start of the Kimberley dry season also marks the start of the protest season at the site where the State Government wants to build a $35 billion gas precinct.

Woodside’s Vice President of the Browse LNG Development Niegel Grazia has confirmed geotechnical studies begin today.

He says he is hoping for less conflict than last year.

“We’re not really doing anything different to last year and we simply ask people to undertake their protest activities in a lawful manner,” he said.

“We respect the fact that there are some people in the community who oppose the project, there are many support it, and we have a workforce that’s looking to get on with their job.”

While police won’t comment on operational details, the ABC understands that by mid-week, more than 100 police officers will have been relocated to Broome indefinitely to handle the inevitable confrontations.

Meanwhile, the local shire is under increasing pressure to tear down the illegal camp structures at the protest site.

Earlier this week, the south-west activist group Forest Rescue said it would cover the cost for about a dozen members to join the Kimberley protest camps.

Spokesman Simon Peterffy says the protesters would take their cue from the locally-run, anti-gas campaign.

“Right from the start of this campaign we’ve always taken our lead from the Broome community,” he said.

“The Broome community is a very strong community and clearly they’re running this campaign.

“Clearly other groups like Forest Rescue that are getting involved are taking their lead from traditional owners like Goolarabooloo about how they’d like us to be involved in this campaign.”

Police permanently at Woodside Petroleum Browse gas hub

  • From: AAP
  • May 11, 2012 12:41PM

A PERMANENT police presence is about to be established at Woodside Petroleum’s Browse gas hub site near Broome to deal with an expected ramping up of protests against the development.

Work on the James Price Point project has resumed now that the wet season has ended.

ABC Radio reported today there are plans to station more than 100 police indefinitely at the site in anticipation of an influx of environmental activists.

Nigel Grazier, the vice-president of the project, said geotechnical studies had resumed today.

There had been a significant ramping-up in activity, with barges currently on route to James Price Point, Mr Grazier said.

Wilderness Society Kimberley campaign manager Glen Klatovsky said it was a waste of police resources and taxpayer money to send police “to crush the Broome community”, which had already been traumatised by last year’s heavy-handed use of police and Woodside’s own private security force.

Many local protesters, including elderly indigenous people, were last year hauled away by police and locked up, Mr Klatovsky said.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan last week accused Premier Colin Barnett of “Soviet-style interventionism” because the Liberal leader insisted on James Price Point being the site for the project.

Those against the project being situated at James Price Point, including the Greens, had repeatedly called for Browse Basin gas to be piped to the south to Woodside’s existing North West Shelf facilities in the Pilbara region.

Mr Klatovsky appealed to the project’s joint venture partners Shell, Chevron, BHP Billiton, BP, Mitsubishi and Mitsui to speak out against “any rash and anti-democratic actions” taken against protesters.

“Do these companies want to be forever remembered by images of police dragging local community members into paddy wagons?” he said.

The ABC Radio report also said the local council was under pressure to tear down illegal structures at the protest camp.

Police said they were unable to confirm the report because they don’t comment on operational issues.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/business/breaking-news/police-permanently-at-woodside-petroleum-browse-gas-hub/story-e6frfkur-1226352961498#ixzz1uowDMr4b

 

Perth police sent north to stop blockade

David Weber reported this story on Friday, May 11, 2012 18:34:00

Listen to MP3 of this story (minutes)

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http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2012/s3501073.htm

EDMOND ROY: West Australian police have mobilised dozens of officers to Broome ahead of an expected confrontation with protestors campaigning against a major development.

Woodside has announced a resumption of work on the James Price Point hub that would process gas from the offshore Browse Basin.

Protestors have set up camps and intend to block the road to the site, north of Broome.

A massive police presence was used to break up a similar blockade there last year.

David Weber reports.

DAVID WEBER: The Premier says it’s “unfortunate” that police have had to commit extra resources to the Broome area.

Colin Barnett has again appealed for protestors to respect the agreement with the majority of local traditional owners.

COLIN BARNETT: I am aware that a significant number of protestors have flown into the area from around Australia, including what I might dub “professional protestors”. I think that’s very unfortunate.

I understand the differing points of view but again I state, the West Australian Government through long negotiations conducted in good faith reached agreement with the Kimberley Land Council, reached agreement with the group the Aboriginal people who legally represent that area according to the Native Title Act and the Federal Court.

And the Aboriginal people agreed with this development because of the immense benefits it brings to them; in housing, jobs, land, money, education and health.

DAVID WEBER: Local protestor with the Broome No Gas campaign, Nik Wevers, says she’s aware there may be some who are seeking a confrontation with police.

But she says such people were not specifically invited.

NIK WEVERS: There was a media release out a few weeks ago from a group known as Forest Rescue and they put out a media release saying that they were assisting 15 protesters to fly to Broome to join the campaign.

They weren’t invited by us. We haven’t contacted them and asked them to come up and they’ve given us no advice that those people are arriving.

We’ve made it quite clear that this is a major national project and any visitors to Broome would be welcome to join the campaign.

DAVID WEBER: But you’re aware of the background of some of the people involved in Forest Rescue who went onto to Japanese whaling vessel and one of them was banned from the environs of Perth during the CHOGM meeting.

NIK WEVERS: Yes, I am aware of that and we are aware of that. We haven’t had any direct contact with him or anyone else organising Forest Rescue in the last few months.

Totally outside our control or even our blessing and certainly outside, we haven’t issued them a particular invitation.

Police made it clear to me that they don’t want anyone blocking the road and if they do block the road then people will be automatically arrested.

DAVID WEBER: Do you expect similar scenes to what happened last year when police sent up personnel to break the blockade?

NIK WEVERS: I hope not. The community was quite traumatised from that, from those events last year and we definitely don’t want that to happen again.

DAVID WEBER: I guess the question would arise, is there another way to protest without setting up a blockade across the road?

NIK WEVERS: Oh and that’s certainly that’s what exercising our minds. There are some court cases going ahead challenging the development assessment tunnels approval.

In the meantime, in our faces is the prospect of heavy equipment going up that road and undertaking work and we need to campaign. We’ll gather people together to determine what’s the safest way to protest – but protest we will.

DAVID WEBER: The protestors say they expect to pull together several hundred people to form the road blocks.

EDMOND ROY: David Weber reporting.

Cops set to move on gas hub protest

FLIP PRIOR, The West AustralianUpdated May 13, 2012, 9:55 am

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/13668472/cops-set-to-move-on-gas-hub-protest/

UPDATE 9.55pm:More than 30 police armed with batons, tasers and handcuffs flew into Broome last night, joining scores of colleagues already on the ground.

Yesterday, 200 families and activists gathered in Broome to discuss strategies to deal with a growing police presence in the town.

Police arrived yesterday in a move widely believed to be a pre-emptive strike against protests at the proposed gas hub at James Price Point.

Environs Kimberley spokesman Martin Pritchard said community members were facing battles on several fronts over the project, including in the courts.

“But what’s facing us at the moment is Monday morning, when probably the police and Woodside are going to come in (with equipment),” he said. “As far as we understand they have the approvals to go ahead with work, but they can’t work in areas which has Aboriginal heritage …unfortunately, that is contested at the moment.”

Attendees declined to discuss their specific strategies for dealing with police in the presence of media representatives.

However, a pile of pamphlets titled “Getting arrested by the police: A basic guide” hinted at how far people were prepared to go.

Film-maker Mitch Torres, representing “Old Broome families”, called on the community to show its support even if people weren’t prepared to take the front lines.

“We know there are a lot of people who are part of the Broome community who maybe don’t want to go out to the protest – but whatever is going on out there, we’re supporting with an action here in Broome,” she said.

“This is a big waste of taxpayers’ money – hundreds of police coming to town – what for? Who are you trying to scare and what are you trying to do to our community?”

This week, as Woodside resumed work on its project, police simultaneously established a command post on Manari Road, which leads to James Price Point, carrying out random breath tests and vehicle checks on every passing motorist.

“I know right at this moment that a lot of people are in this town, excuse the French, pissed off,” Ms Torres said. “I would like to know here how many people have got yellow stickers already … that’s been happening over the past couple of days and will probably accelerate.”

“Do you like the idea that there is 150 police, if that is the correct number, converging on our town, subduing us … talk about that to everyday people.”

Former Broome Shire Councillor Chris Maher said the increased police presence and intimidation was a “disgraceful use of State power”.

People must show that it was the Broome community opposing the project, he said.

“Last year, all they did was tag everybody as being unemployed, dole bludgers, professional protestors … they zoomed in on dreadlocks,” he said.

[Douglas son ‘hassled by police’ |

On Friday, Premier Colin Barnett described those opposing the project in Broome as “professional protesters” and claimed a “significant number” had flown into Broome from around Australia. “I think that is very unfortunate,” he said.

However, Mr Pritchard rubbished the claim that outsiders were driving the campaign.

“Can everyone who is a professional protestor, who is has been paid to do this and flown in here by others, put their hand up please?” he said.

“I think it’s really important, if people are being targeted as professional protestors, every time there is a discussion about it, we need to say that we are the Broome community.

“We are protecting the environment, we are protecting our future, we are protecting our families and town.”

Kimberley District Superintendent Mick Sutherland refused to confirm details of the operation, saying only that it was at its “planning stage”.

 

Broome group deliver letter

FLIP PRIOR, The West AustralianMay 13, 2012, 11:15 am

As masses of police arrived in Broome this weekend, the town’s residents met them with flowers and expressions of love.

Around 300 people gathered at the Broome markets for a peaceful mother’s day demonstration against the police influx. Anti-gas protestors claim officers are in town for a pre-emptive strike against protests at James Price Point as Woodside resumes work on its gas project.

People began gathering at the markets this morning, armed with love-heart shaped signs and bunches of flowers.

Mother Reema Nock – a resident of 11 years and mother of three – said she had turned up to support the Broome community in voicing their concerns.

“It’s a bit weird actually – I was at the markets yesterday and there was heaps of police around – it’s a bit hostile, a bit over the top,” she said.

“We’re about peacefulness here – we’re no enemy and we don’t pose any threat, so it’s kind of irrational. We’re not violent people, we haven’t been storming the buildings and hurting people.”

Organiser Mitch Torres told participants to remember that the protest was a silent vigil: “We’re not shouting, we come with love,” she said. “This is a message from the mothers of Broome – we are concerned about the environment that our children are being forced to live under.”

Just before noon, the group crossed the road to the Broome Police Station to present the gifts to police.

Ms Torres and Anne Poelina handed over a letter, outlining the group’s concerns, to Sgt Troy Kendall, who said he would pass it on to Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan.

“Last year, the police were used as a security service to escort Woodside workers and equipment onto a site to clear sensitive ecosystem habitat for which they did not have planning, environmental or heritage approval,” the letter said.

“The police arrested Broome residents who were trying to prevent a private company from breaking the law.”

More than 140 additional police officers have been recruited to Broome but Kimberley District Superintendent Mick Sutherland defended the decision saying the extra officers should be there indefinitely.

“It’s operational requirements that we have the police here,” he said. “The planning is still underway… this is my operation… I applied for it, I have asked people to be here.

Mr Sutherland said he believed Broome should welcome an increased police presence in the town, as it was to protect community safety.

“Everyone in WA wants more police – they’re happy with the crime in town are they?” he said. “The bottom line is that is what we do – we remain committed to ensuring the safety of all people.

“We haven’t got anything to do with James Price Point. People have a lawful right to undertake activities anywhere on a public road.

“If I make a decision to bring extra police in, I don’t consider what that is to the local community. If it’s about James Price Point – well, go and talk to Woodside and the Government, don’t talk to the police.

“We’ve got one objective – and that’s ensuring the safety of the people and telling people to get off the road. If they get on the road, we will go through the process we did last year.”

“The bottom line is – everyone knows the rules. If the people in town are concerned about the police – if you’re not doing anything wrong, what have you got to talk about?”

The community remains poised for action, with rumours swirling that police intend to clamp down on any protest activity within days.

Environs Kimberley spokesman Martin Pritchard said community members were facing battles on several fronts over the project, including in the courts.

“But what’s facing us at the moment is Monday morning, when probably the police and Woodside are going to come in (with equipment),” he said.

Premier Colin Barnett said he “regretted” having to send the police up to Broome but “the fact is that previous demonstrations have not been peaceful”.

“I respect the right for people to demonstrate peacefully but recent history in Broome has shown this not to be the case,” he said.

Residents fear Broome is in ‘lock-down’ as protest mounts

  • by:Cortlan Bennett
  • From:AAP
  • May 13, 2012 1:37PM

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/residents-fear-broome-is-in-lock-down-as-protest-mounts/story-e6frg143-1226354133522

MORE than 600 people have gathered outside Broome police station in the Kimberley in a showdown with authorities over a proposed gas hub.

An estimated 250 police with riot gear started arriving in the coastal town on Friday night in what residents say is a pre-emptive move to clear protesters from the controversial James Price Point gas hub site 60km north of town.

Residents said they feared police would move in as early as Monday morning to physically remove protesters from the Woodside Petroleum site, as a Wednesday deadline looms for a Broome Shire move-on notice to clear camps in the area.

“The community is feeling like they’re in lock-down here,” a Broome resident, who did not wish to be identified, told AAP today.

“We’re expecting a showdown tomorrow morning.

“It could be tomorrow, Tuesday or Wednesday, because the Shire has instructed one of the protest camps to be removed by Wednesday.”
The resident said police with riot gear continued to fly or be bussed in from Perth and regional centres, with another 60 arriving on Saturday – bringing the estimated total to 250 officers

He said the heavy police presence in the normally quiet tourist town was “unprecedented since the Noonkanbah dispute”, referring to the violent clashes of the 1970s and 80s between WA police and protesters near Fitzroy Crossing, when oil company AMAX was given state approval to drill on an Aboriginal sacred site.

The James Price Point dispute has many parallels with Noonkanbah, with the WA government locked in battle with conservationists, local Aborigines and other Kimberley residents over plans to compulsorily acquire the site for a $30 billion liquid natural gas (LNG) processing plant.

Lead developer Woodside has argued it will inject much-needed funds into the local economy, while those opposed claim the site is culturally and environmentally significant with better alternatives, such as existing gas plants in the Pilbara.

WA Premier Colin Barnett claimed on Friday some of those now picketing the site were “professional protesters”, but another Broome resident, Anne Poelina, said most were locals who did not want the project to destroy their pristine environment or disrupt the town’s unique way of life.

“We are the families of Broome residents, we are not professional protesters, and we are concerned about what is coming,” Ms Poelina told AAP.

“This is going to be the biggest industrial precinct in the world, and it will have an impact on the families and the environment.”

While many of the 600 who gathered outside Broome police station this morning left flowers and gifts for the riot squad officers “to give to their mums on Mother’s Day”, some were not happy police did not go outside to meet with them.

“The sergeant on the desk said he didn’t even have five minutes to come and speak to the community of Broome and take (a prepared) letter,” Mitch Torres said.

A Broome police spokeswoman said the crowd had gathered peacefully outside and had started to disperse by early afternoon.

She would not comment further.

 

Residents fear police action as officers converge on Broome

Aleisha Orr

May 14, 2012 – 4:00AM

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/residents-fear-police-action-as-officers-converge-on-broome-20120513-1yknw.html

Police reinforcements who have been descending on Broome since Friday met last night to discuss a plan of attack.

It is believed that they are in town as part of a pre-emptive move to bring the issue of protests against the proposed gas hub at James Price Point to a head.

Sergeant Naomi Smith yesterday confirmed that extra police had been sent to Broome but was unable to confirm why.

An estimated 250 police with riot gear started arriving in the coastal town on Friday night in what residents said was a pre-emptive move to clear protesters from the controversial gas hub site 60km north of town.

Residents said they feared police would move in as early as this morning to physically remove protesters from the Woodside Petroleum site, as a Wednesday deadline looms for a Broome Shire move-on notice to clear camps from the area.

The police meeting followed a gathering of what was estimated to be up to 600 people outside Broome police station yesterday morning in what participants said was a peaceful protest in opposition to the increased police presence in town.

Mitch Torresm who was part of the action, said she and other members of ‘old Broome families’ presented flowers and a letter at the front desk of the station asking why the strong police presence was necessary in the town.

Ms Torres said she believed the police were in town to silence those who were against the development of the gas hub.

“They are here to crush the people that they fear as protesters out there, who are members of the families of Broome,” she said.

Ms Torres said the increased police presence had created a strange feeling in town.

“We are seeing police in TRG gear in the streets, that’s not the normal police gear,” she said.

Ms Torres said the extra police were not necessary.

“There are 12 people in two camps out there [James Price Point] … why do they need 200 police?”

The WA government is locked in a battle with conservationists, local Aborigines and other Kimberley residents over plans to compulsorily acquire the site for a $30 billion liquid natural gas (LNG) processing plant.

Lead developer Woodside has argued it will inject much-needed funds into the local economy, while those opposed claim the site is culturally and environmentally significant with better alternatives, such as existing gas plants in the Pilbara.

WA Premier Colin Barnett claimed on Friday some of those now picketing the site were “professional protesters”, but Ms Torres said most of those against the gas hub were locals who wanted to preserve the unique lifestyle they had in Broome.

-With AAP

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/residents-fear-police-action-as-officers-converge-on-broome-20120513-1yknw.html#ixzz1uot6Mrha

Police arrive at Broome gas hub protest camp

FLIP PRIOR, The West AustralianMay 14, 2012, 10:04 am

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/13677835/police-arrive-at-broome-gas-hub-protest-camp/

A big contingent of police has arrived at the site of a protest camp near the James Price Point gas hub developemtn about 60km north of Broome.

About 20 cars containing police arrived this morning.

There are about 10 protesters at the camp.

Woodside is planning to move equipment into the area this morning.

More than 140 additional police officers have been recruited to Broome but Kimberley District Superintendent Mick Sutherland defended the decision saying the extra officers should be there indefinitely.

Police are expected to make a statement later this morning.

 

‘Police state operation’ in Broome: Greens

May 14, 2012 – 2:44PM

AAP

Eds: Restores keyword from Broome

By Andrea Hayward

CANBERRA, May 14 AAP – The Australian Greens say the West Australian government is using police to intimidate protesters as part of a strategy to develop a gas hub near Broome.

Advertisement: Story continues below

WA senator Rachel Siewert on Monday that since winning government in 2008, Premier Colin Barnett had been intent on driving development at James Price Point site to the exclusion of any other consideration.

“This smacks of a police state in Western Australia,” Senator Siewert told reporters in Canberra.

“They should not be using police to reinforce their industrialisation of the Kimberley.”

More than 600 people yesterday gathered outside Broome police station to protest against the proposed gas hub.

An estimated 250 police officers with riot gear started arriving in Broome on Friday night in what residents believe is a pre-emptive move to clear protesters from the controversial hub site 60km north of the coastal resort town.

Senator Siewert accused Mr Barnett of trying to escalate the situation by bringing in so many police officers.

She said the traditional owners of the land are split over the development, with one group in deep opposition to the hub and another keen to see the flow-on effects to local Aborigines.

“There is division within the community that has been, in my opinion, successfully exploited by the government,” she said.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown said he would visit Broome in early June.

“The stupidity of this high-handed action against Broome residents is that Woodside and its partners have not yet made up their minds on how, where or when the development will proceed,” he said in a statement.

“There are alternatives for the gas hub but you can’t restore Broome after it has turned into an industrial suburb.”

 

Police convoys protect equipment at James Price Point

Rania Spooner

May 14, 2012 – 2:35PM

Environmentalists and locals camped at James Price Point, the controversial Kimberley site marked for the $30 billion Browse gas hub, remain poised for a confrontation with about 150 police sent to bolster the Broome force in recent days, as work resumes at the site.

The tensions have continued even though it is widely understood the Browse LNG joint venture partners, including Shell, BHP Billiton, BP and Chevron, would prefer gas from the Browse Basin off the West Australian coast to be processed at project operator Woodside Petroleum’s existing facilities in the Pilbara.

But Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman earlier this month said the oil and gas producer would not be courting alternatives to the Kimberley until after its final investment decision deadline expected early next year.

A Woodside spokesman said the company was now finalising its engineering, site investigation and environmental studies for the proposed hub in preparation for the FID deadline.

“The studies include heritage and environmental surveys, as well as studies of the subsurface geology at the Browse LNG Precinct,” the spokesman said.

“We acknowledge that some people are opposed to the project but there are many people who are looking forward to the employment and economic benefits that would flow if it proceeds.”

Those camped at James Price Point today say they hope the situation does not escalate to the levels it did in July last year when about 40 people were arrested in what some claimed was “heavy handed” retaliation to lock-ons and protests.

Shortly before 11am today police ushered a group of about 20 trucks carrying temporary worker’s accommodation, fuel and earth moving equipment onto the site by foot and cavalcade, according to Broome resident Vivenne O’Shea.

“A large group of policemen started jogging up the road, they lined themselves up on the side of the road and they escorted about 20 trucks, with police vehicles in the front and the back” she said.

WA premier Colin Barnett last week said those currently camped at James Price Point were “professional protestors”, but Ms O’Shea, who claims to have lived in Broome for more than a decade, said the group of up to 40 people at the Manari Road camp today were local residents.

Ms O’Shea said the camp watched on, “pretty bewildered and disgusted at the amount of tax payer money that’s been spent on sending in this many police.”

“When you bring a huge police force in its asking for trouble,” she said.

Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders said the police deployment near Broome could be the biggest of its kind since the Eureka Stockade.

Ms O’Shea said although the Browse opponents were confident the project would not go ahead at the site, the group would remain at James Price Point in a show of frustration, now directed at the WA Government, rather than the group’s proponents.

Broome Community No Gas Campaign spokeswoman Nik Wevers said she believed more equipment would be transferred out to site over the next two days.

“We’ve said all along that we would continue to protest,” She said. “But the focus is on safety, we don’t want the community to get traumatised like they did last year.”

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/police-convoys-protect-equipment-at-james-price-point-20120514-1ym9p.html#ixzz1uozVTWMc

Police protect Woodside convoy as work resumes

Updated May 14, 2012 15:32:35

PHOTO: Dozens of police officers were drafted in from around the state to control any protests.(ABC News: Natalie Jones)

MAP: Broome 6725

More than 60 police have escorted a Woodside convoy past protest camps north of Broome, without incident.

The protesters are campaigning against the James Price Point gas hub development.

For several hours, a small group of anti-gas hub campaigners and dozens of police waited side by side at the Manari Road protest camp.

The officers, who have been flown in from across the state, moved into a large formation on the road, and alongside a convoy of 14 Woodside vehicles.

The protesters stood aside and jeered as the trucks, loaded with dongas and machinery, passed by.

Despite a red alert being issued to call more people out to the camp, only about 15 protesters were present as the convoy passed.

Campaign leader Nic Wevers says the number of police was excessive.

“I guess we’re surprised that so many police were there, it was a huge amount of police and over the top,” she said.

Inspector Bill Munnee says it was local police who called for the increased officer presence.

“It has nothing to do with the Premier,” he said.

Police say no further escorts will occur today.

PHOTO: Police escort the convoy, on its way to James Price Point, past camps north of Broome as protesters stand aside. (ABC News: Natalie Jones)

Yesterday, hundreds of anti-gas campaigners gathered outside the Broome police station to protest against the increased number of police in town.

About 300 men, women and children armed with flowers and heart-shaped banners presented a letter of concern to the officer-in-charge.

A group leader Mitch Torres says more than 600 people signed the letter which claims the Government is using police for political purposes.

“It’s about a peaceful show of opposition to the continuing increase of the police force that’s amassing here in our town,” he said.

“We haven’t asked for it, there’s no need for it, who are they here to protect?

“Are they supposed to protect the community of Broome or a corporate entity?”

Another protester Anne Poelina told the crowd police accepted the letter but were too busy to address the group directly.

“We said that we were not professional protesters, we are the families of Broome and we wanted to make our intentions known to the police,” he said.

Police say the letter will be passed on to the Police Commissioner and the flowers have been donated to a local retirement home.

Illegal

Meanwhile, the shire has confirmed the two protest camps near James Price Point are illegal.

The shire president Graeme Campbell has told the ABC the camps contravene local laws governing signage, structures, and health and safety, and are therefore illegal.

Mr Campbell says the campers have been warned the structures must come down.

“It has to my knowledge no planning, no building authority,” he said.

“I can tell you that our rangers have gone up and spoken and the people there listened to our rangers.

“We have started the first course of action in that our rangers have verbally advised people that the structures they have and the camping they are doing is illegal at this stage.”