A man will appear in court next month after being arrested for allegedly painting anti-rally slogans on a roadway in Murwillumbah earlier this week.

A 61-year-old Lillian Rock man is accused of painting 17 sections of anti-rally slogans on the bitumen surface of Kyogle Road, covering a distance of approximately 30 kilometres, on Wednesday evening (2 September).

Acting on information from witnesses, and following inquiries by police, officers attended an address at Lillian Rock yesterday (Thursday 3 September). The man, as well as another person at the house, was questioned in relation to the allegations.

Today the man attended Murwillumbah Police Station where he was arrested and charged with malicious damage. He was granted conditional bail and will appear in Murwillumbah Local Court on Wednesday 7 October.

The arrest was made by officers as part of Operation Palisade, which has been formed to manage the policing response during the World Rally Championships – 2009 Australia Round (3-6 September 2009) within the Tweed/Byron and Richmond Local Area Commands.

Operation Palisade utilises staff from numerous Local Area Commands, as well as the Public Order and Riot Squad, PolAir and Traffic Services Branch.

Operation Palisade Commander, Superintendent Bruce Lyons, said: “It is estimated that it will cost the local council in the vicinity of $10,000 to repair the roadway.

“I have said many times in the lead-up to the World Rally Championships that police respect people’s rights to protest, however, breaking the law will not be tolerated.

“This sends a clear message to any person wanting to take direct action in opposing this rally – police will come down hard and we make no apologies.

“It is disappointing for the local community that this type of behaviour is occurring and it is obvious from the witness accounts that local residents are also opposed to local property being damaged.”