Hundreds of Byron Bay protesters ignored social distancing to challenge the installation of 5G in the town over fears it could lead to an outbreak of the coronavirus.
One protester was injured and another was arrested during the hostile stand-off in Mullumbimby in northern New South Wales on Wednesday.
The group had gathered after word spread that Telstra workers were at the site making preparations for network upgrades despite a recent Byron Bay councillors unanimously agreed not to support any upgrades that will facilitate 5G technology.
Protester Dean Jeffreys told 7 News he feared electromagnetic radiation from 5G would affect his immunity.
‘Especially in this age of coronavirus, you want to have your immunity as strong as you can,’ he said.
Dean Jeffreys daughter filmed as her father was arrested during the protest in Byron bay on Wedneday
Footage of the clash shows protesters yelling ‘No 5G’ under the watchful eye of police who were there to protect Telstra workers.
Mr Jefferys later posted videos of the incident to Facebook, showing him being arrested and dragged by police into a paddy wagon after he tried to stop a truck intending to remove a car that was blocking 5G installing equipment.
Mr Jefferys later claimed on Facebook another person was hit by the truck and taken away in an ambulance.
A New South Wales Police spokeswoman confirmed to Daily Mail Australia a police operation took place but were unable to provide further detail.
Mr Jefferys said he was later released without any charges laid.
The demonstrators were angry 5G is being installed during a lockdown in the hope of avoiding community opposition.
‘This is clearly against the community’s desires as expressed recently when thousands of residents turned up at Mullumbimby councils chambers and public meetings,’ Mr Jefferys said.
‘People who attended the protest mainly kept a safe distance from everyone else. Yet when I made my sit down protest that I am allowed to do under our constitution and I ask police to keep a safe social distance I was instantly arrested.’
Local Dean Jefferys is pictured being arrested and dragged by police into a paddy wagon after he tried to stop a truck intending to remove a car that was blocking 5G installing equipment
Mr Jefferys claims he was arrested and not charged over the incident and is planning another demonstration in Mullumbimby on Thursday
Another protest has been organised for Thursday.
‘Rolling 24 hour protests will happen at the proposed 5G tower behind the Mullumbimby Post Office from 8am,’ Mr Jefferys said.
‘People will be turning up to protests every day until this is stopped and the real health concerns of the local residents are satisfied.
‘With only around 10 new cases of CV (COVID-19) in all of Australia yesterday it appears obvious the war on coranavirus is almost over.
‘Now we just have to be careful that tyranny doesn’t become the new threat.’
The protest is breaking coronavirus social distancing rules as Australians are banned from gathering in groups of more than two people.
A number of people were dismayed that the group who were concerned for their health had chosen to to break social distancing rules.
‘So with Covid as a real, serious health threat, a group of misinformed people gave up social distancing to follow a extreme right wing conspiracy theory,’ one person wrote.
‘Why are they being so dumb,’ another wrote.
‘Police should have issued all a $1,000 fine for not staying home and being out at a non essential place,’ another wrote.
A crowd of over 200 people arrived for the impromptu demonstration at Mullumbimby in Northern New South Wales on Wednesday
Residents fear 5G technology can have harmful effects on health but these claims have been debunked by the scientific community
Pictured is the telecommunication tower Telstra workers were trying to access for 5G network upgrades
A Telstra spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on the specific incident but said 5G coverage will be rolled out to 35 Australian cities by the end of June.
‘To date, we have commenced the rollout of 5G in 32 cities around Australia,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Our rollout has been focused on cities, regional centres and high traffic areas with a view to offering 5G to as many of our customers as fast as possible.’
Interest in ridiculous theories that the ultra-fast mobile technology causes coronavirus have swept across the globe during the health crisis, despite experts’ desperate efforts to debunk the claims.
There was a flood of interest when 5G technology was first rolled out Australia last May before being renewed when the pandemic hit Australia’s shores earlier this year.
Australian professor of medicine, and public health advocate John Dwyer described conspiracy claims that 5G causes the deadly virus as ‘dangerous nonsense’.
He also refuted claims 5G technology is harmful to our health.
‘It’s right up there with wind farms causing cancer,’ Professor Dwyer told Channel Seven earlier this month.
‘At this time in the fight against the epidemic, this is dangerous nonsense. Even to have a few people think differently that social distancing isn’t for them is a silly idea and is putting all of us at risk.’
‘For some people, the idea of a conspiracy theory turns them on. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter that much but in this particular case, it’s dangerous.’
WHAT IS 5G AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.
Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched.
Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively.
More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.
5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G.
Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time.
That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.
Potential uses for 5g include:
- Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call
- Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
- A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds.
5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.
By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.
The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future