One protester arrested, one injured in 5G stand-off
UPDATE 3.05pm: ONE person has been arrested and one taken away by ambulance at a protest over a 5G upgrade.
NSW Police said a man was believed to be injured when he fell to the ground and hit his head and another man arrested for failure to move.
The number of protesters has grown throughout the day, with people gathering in Dalley Street and River Terrace.
Police are reminding people to maintain their social distance from each other under COVID-19 public health orders.
Telstra said workers are onsite and work continues, but a cherry picker was unable to be taken inside.
UPDATE 1.25pm: TELSTRA has confirmed work at the Mullumbimby site is a 5G upgrade.
UPDATE 12.55pm: IN RESPONSE to inquiries about construction work at a Telstra site in Mullumbimby, Telstra Regional General Manager for NSW, Mike Marom did not clarify if the work was in preparation to upgrade to the 5G network, but said Telstra was committed to rolling out the technology in Australia.
He said by June 30, "we expect to increase our 5G coverage area almost five-fold with 5G coverage to be present within 35 Australian cities. To date, we have commenced the rollout of 5G in 32 cities around Australia. Our rollout has been focused on cities, regional centres and high traffic areas with a view to offering 5G to as many of our customers as fast as possible".
"Importantly, the 5G upgrades that we are making to our network also benefit customers using 4G within the coverage footprint.
He said more than 50 years of scientific research has already been conducted into the possible health effects of the radio signals used for mobile phones, base stations and other wireless services, including the frequency bands now being redeployed for 5G.
"We rely on the expert advice of Australian and international health authorities including the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for overall assessments relating to health and safety," Mr Marom said.
"We also conduct our own testing, which has shown that 5G technology produces EME levels at around 1000 times below the safety limits in many cases. Additionally, all of our testing has found EME levels to be similar to 3G, 4G and WiFi.
"We have developed this 5G and Electromagnetic Energy (EME) Fact Sheet, which is a great source of information.'
Mobile phones in the area were sent a text message that says: "Telstra is upgrading its mobile network around Mullumbimby with work to take place over six days (starting yesterday). Your mobile service may be impacted at various times during this period'.
Byron Shire Council resolved at its last general meeting: "That Council contact Telstra immediately after the meeting and request that they consider a late submission on behalf of council due to the fact that council had not met since the submission period commenced.
"That Council does not currently support the proposed upgrade that will facilitate 5G technologies and continues to support a moratorium on the installation of 5G technology infrastructure until the previously requested information is provided, including: a) identification of and commitment by a State or Federal Government body to do a comprehensive review of the cumulative impacts of the 5G technology, b) identification of who holds responsibility for the on-going monitoring of any cumulative impacts, c) commitment from the State Government to review the current planning processes for the installation of small cells and consideration of any possible improvements."
UPDATE 12.35pm: ABOUT 100 people have gathered at a Telstra site in Mullumbimby behind the Post Office.
Yellow construction tape has been put up around the Telstra site and protesters are concerned the company is forging ahead with plans to build a 5G tower in the town.
Original story: A GROUP of people have reportedly gathered in Mullumbimby to protest the construction of what they believe to be a 5G tower.
Videos on social media show police talking to a gathering of people Dalley St chanting "No 5G".
Last month Byron Shire councillors voted unanimously to immediately contact Telstra and request the company considers a late submission from the council "due to the fact that council had not met since the submission period commenced".
Councillors unanimously agreed that the council "does not currently support the proposed upgrade that will facilitate 5G technologies and continues to support a moratorium on the installation of 5G technology infrastructure" until information previously requested of is provided.