Blockade Australia activist Mali Cooper receives bail after Sydney Harbor Bridge climate protest

A now infamous climate protester who allegedly brought Sydney to a halt by locking her head to a steering wheel to block the Harbor Bridge tunnel has been granted a stay of payment by the court.

Mali Poppy Cooper, 22, caught the attention of the country on June 27 when she reportedly blocked the entrance to the Sydney Harbor Bridge tunnel and locked herself at the wheel of the parked car.

The Lismore resident streamed her protest live on Facebook, revealing the bike lock wrapped around her neck as traffic surged several miles behind her.

Ms Cooper was arrested and charged with entering Sydney Harbor Bridge and disrupting vehicles and obstructing the footpath.

On Tuesday, the Sydney Downing Center Court was told that the young climate activist was held at the police station for 30 hours before being released on “very tough bail conditions”.

Her lawyer Mark Davis told the court that the terms prohibit Ms Cooper from entering Sydney, impose extensive restrictions on using her phone, require her to contact police three times a week and impose a curfew.

According to the curfew, Ms Cooper is required to stay home during set evenings and must show up at the door when police conduct a check.

Mr Davis said imposing a curfew was pointless as the alleged crime occurred during the day and his client had no history of nighttime violations.

He told the court that Mrs. Cooper was looking for shelter in the flood-ravaged town of Lismore, and the curfew made it difficult for her to find a suitable home.

“Nowhere in Australia is it more difficult to find shelter at the moment, and Ms Cooper has the added burden of the curfew,” said Mr Davis.

The prosecutor argued that the bail conditions were “justified given the actions of the accused” and told the court that Ms Cooper had violated the conditions the day after she was released on bail.

The court was told that the 22-year-old had been arrested on June 29 for staying in Sydney after being ordered to return to Lismore when she was released by police.

Davis told the court that his client was arrested while she was “on her way” to Lismore after staying in Sydney for a television interview.

“She appeared on a TV show and that seemed to anger the police,” he said.

“It was a very frivolous offense and a very frivolous indictment.”

Magistrate Daniel Covington said he “struggled” with the relationship between the daytime violation, which appeared to be intended to cause “maximum disruption”, and the curfew.

He decided to delete the condition, leaving the other “reasonably strict bail conditions” intact.

Ms Cooper was one of 10 protesters arrested during the Blockade Australia protest on June 27. Her strict bail conditions include a long list of more than 20 people she is forbidden to associate with.

The court was told that the young activist would likely plead at her next court appearance after the defense and prosecutors agreed on the facts.

She will return to the Sydney Downing Center local court on August 16.

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