Confusion in New South Wales town of Lismore as Australian soldiers take to streets for ‘riot role play’
Residents of a major regional city have expressed anger and confusion at the sight of Australian soldiers on their streets as part of a deployment that includes conducting “riot control” exercises.
The Australian Army’s 7th Brigade was seen on the streets of Lismore in far north New South Wales conducting drills as part of Exercise EVER READY RAM.
The activities began Monday and will end Friday, after soldiers arrived in the city on Wednesday, angering a Green federal senator as well as some city residents.
Australian Army soldiers conduct military exercises in Lismore (pictured), on the far north coast of New South Wales, as part of a series of military exercises including ‘riot control’.
Lismore Council made an announcement on its Facebook page on Monday, alerting residents of the activities.
“Members of the Australian Defense Force will be in the Lismore area from Wednesday September 6 to Friday September 8 for a military exercise,” the message said.
“The exercise is designed to prepare members of the 7th Brigade for deployment on Australian Government tasks.
“Defence thanks the community and authorities for their cooperation during the exercise.”
The council said soldiers were deployed to carry out “anti-riot activity” which took place on Thursday.
Members of the force will also conduct shooting exercises at the former Trinity College campus.
No shots were fired before 4:30 p.m. Thursday and no shooting drills were conducted before 9:30 a.m. Friday.
This decision caused confusion among some residents, who saw soldiers passing through their neighborhood.
One resident, Dee Mould, who commented on the council’s post, said she saw soldiers outside her home last night.
“They were outside my house (sic) in the dark last night…a full patrol carrying automatic weapons…I was scared,” she said.
“I’m not reassured to hear that they are undergoing riot control training and I don’t think a heavily traumatized community needs it.”
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Lismore Council for comment.
Soldiers from the Australian Defense Force (pictured) arrived in Lismore on Wednesday and conducted military exercises, including ‘blank firing’ exercises which took place on Thursday with more exercises expected to be carried out today.
NSW Greens senator David Shoebridge also took to social media to express his concern over the exercises.
“What the hell is the Australian Defense Force doing carrying out ‘riot activities’ and ‘blank shooting’ at Lismore Airport and Trinity College? » asked Mr Shoebridge in a message on Twitter.
“This is a job for the police, not for the ADF. This is a dangerous drift (sic) from the mission for the armed forces.
In a statement, a Department of Defense spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: “Elements of the 8th/9th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment will conduct a simulated non-combatant evacuation (NEO), a stability operation and an air-land operation (ALO). )…’
“(The exercises are being conducted) from Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, RAAF Base Amberley and Lismore Regional Airport, with increased air and road movements expected between these locations.”
“Our community is at the forefront of military planning and Defense will take all available measures to reduce impacts on residents.”
Lismore Council informed residents that members of the Australian Army would be deployed to the area, but this left some residents confused about their presence in the area.
The latest military operation comes after four members of the Australian Defense Force were killed in the crash of an army helicopter off the coast of Queensland.
The incident occurred during the Talisman Saber military training exercise, when the helicopter crashed near Hamilton Island on Friday, July 28, around 10:30 p.m.