Toni Zuschke, head of Murwillumbah Business Chamber.
Toni Zuschke, head of Murwillumbah Business Chamber. Tweed Daily News/Blainey Woodham

Protesters clash with business leaders

ANTI-rally protesters staged a small but noisy and colourful demonstration against Repco Rally Australia outside the Repco shop in Brisbane Street, Murwillumbah yesterday.

Self-declared “veteran peace campaigner and nomad” Graeme Dunstan brought to town his Peacebus, a 1996 Mitsubishi van equipped with load speakers, parking it outside the Repco store and calling an 11am “anti-rally” rally of about 20 protestors.

In the wake of Thursday's Federal Court decision rejecting an application for an injunction stopping next week's world championship car rally, Mr Dunstan, who held a similar protest last week outside the Lismore Repco store, said “direct action” was now needed.

“The only thing that is going to work to stop it, or at least pause it for this year, is direct action,” he said.

Mr Dunstan's direct action included parking his Peacebus with anti-rally signs outside the Repco store and erecting a large protest sign supported by star pickets.

That attracted the attention of police who requested it be lowered because it was close to a power line and he was warned any protest march should stay on the footpath.

It also attracted the ire of Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber president Toni Zuschke, who told Mr Dunstan he was affecting business in the town, particularly the Repco store.

“I think you should move along.

“As a representative for the chamber of commerce it's my business to ensure businesses are not affected,” she said.

Mrs Zuschke said Mr Dunstan, like any business, should have council development approval to erect his sign.

That prompted Mr Dunstan to ask: “Are you going to do this on the rally weekend and get the council rangers out?

“Repco have taken it upon themselves to privatise the roads over the weekend - give me a break.

Mr Dunstan said protesters planned to “stop this rally and bring down the Rees Labor government” that had approved it.

About 20 protesters gathered as other speakers addressed the demonstration about 11am. The group then marched via footpaths to continue their demonstration outside the Tweed Shire Council headquarters.

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