FORMER Australian rugby union captain David Pocock will face Narrabri Local Court after being arrested for protesting at the Maules Creek coal mine site on Sunday.
Pocock let the world know of his protest, tweeting a photo of himself locked onto an excavator with Boggabri farmer Rick Laird to his 74,000 Twitter followers.
Five other people also locked themselves onto mining equipment, and all seven were were charged with entering enclosed land without lawful excuse; remaining on enclosed land without lawful excuse; and hindering working of mining equipment.
NSW Police advised they were all granted conditional bail.
Pocock told the Lock the Gate Alliance he had been thinking about joining their protests for a long time.
“I was really keen to come up here and help support what people are doing here, standing up for the local community and farmers,” Pocock said.
“Scientists are telling us we have to leave coal in the ground to avert catastrophic climate change and that is what we need to do.
“Being part of the blockade is something I have been thinking about doing for a long time now. I would be doing this regardless of what career I had. It is part of being a human being and taking on the challenges we face as a society. It is about giving back and getting the conversation going.”
Following his release on bail, Pocock posted a further explanation on Twitter.
"I know some are very uncomfortable with breaking the law, but I feel that non-violent direct action in the face of coal mines and climate change draws on a long history of civil disobedience being used to highlight injustice," he explained.
Pocock was scheduled to be back in Canberra for pre-season training with the ACT Brumbies today.
The Australian Rugby Union issued a formal written warning to Pocock on Monday afternoon.
"While we appreciate David has personal views on a range of matters, we've made it clear that we expect his priority to be ensuring he can fulfil his role as a high-performance athlete," an ARU spokesman said.