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  • Magistrate bans father of three from using Sydney Harbour Bridge following gridlock protest
  • By Lisa Davies and Henry Budd
  • www.news.com.au
  • 13/05/2011
  • Contributed by: admin ( 15 articles in 2011 )
Mick Fox - protestor hangs a banner from the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
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A MAN who stopped traffic across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in peak hour allegedly did a tour of the icon yesterday in preparation for his protest this morning.

The man, who did a Bridge Climb yesterday, allegedly wrote a letter to alerting about his situation.

"You have taken my kids. I have taken your bridge. Be aware," he allegedly wrote.

The man was yesterday granted bail in Sydney's Central Local Court, on condition he goes nowhere near the iconic structure.



The man, who told the court he was "a retired veteran", allegedly used ropes to climb to the top of the bridge shortly before 5am.

He unfurled two pink and white banners reading, "plz help my kids'' and "kids first''.

The 38-year-old father from Narrabeen, on Sydney's northern beaches, abseiled down about 7am and was immediately arrested by police.

The man was given conditional bail on charges of obstructing traffic, climbing or jumping from buildings or other structures and climbing on bridges.

But Magistrate William Brydon said the man was not allowed to disrupt the free flow of traffic or people or act in any way that risked the safety of himself or others.

He was also banned from contacting his ex-wife and some members of his and her family.

"I think that's pretty disgusting," the man replied to the magistrate.

"This is not the act of a desperate man, this is the act of determined man."

The magistrate also banned him from "entering the Harbour Bridge".

"If you wish to go from one side to the other you can use the tunnel," he said.

No pedestrians, motorists, trains or buses were able to cross the bridge for more than two hours during the protest.

The man was charged with obstructing traffic; Climbing or jumping from buildings or other structures and climbing on bridges.

Gridlock

Earlier today, trains, vehicles, and foot traffic were stopped from crossing the Harbour bridge for more than two hours after the man made his way to the top of to the arch.

Just after 5am he stopped his ute on the bridge and used a ladder to begin his ascent.

He unfurled two banners reading "plz help my kids" and "kids first".

Transport NSW Director General Lea Wielinga said a security guard on the pedestrian walkway was the first person to spot the man, but was not able to stop him because of a security barrier.

It is the second time a person has used the bridge to hold the city to ransom this year and changes would be made, he said.

"[These proestors] ... worry me," Mr Wielinga said.

"We are going to be reviewing our security systems and we will doing something about this."

"The surveillance and the response worked well but we will certainly be revising some of these structures that restrict access.

On why the bridge was shut he said: "the first consideration is to prevent [injury or loss of life]".

"[Closing the bridge] was the response that was needed this morning and I agree with that."

NSW Police Deputy commissioner Dave Owens described the protest as "well planed and well executed".

"The RTA activated the Emergency management Traffic Plans working with State Rail, Sydney Ferries, and Sydney Buses. Diversions were also put in place on the roads," Mr Owens said.

"While there were disruptions to peak hour morning traffic the situation was resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible and the bridge was open before 7.30am."

"We were in contact with the individual very, very early in the situation," he said.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/sydney-harbour-bridge-closed-by-police-and-trains-stop-after-man-climbs/story-e6frfkvr-1226055072307

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