News National Climate change activists plan week of disruptive capital city protests

Climate change activists plan week of disruptive capital city protests

spring rebellion 2019
Extinction Rebellion protesters lie down on Brisbane's Queen Street on a weekday morning in June. Photo: Twitter
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Police are promising to crack down on protesters ahead of a week of planned disruptive climate change demonstrations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Protest action, known as the Spring Rebellion, is planned for the capital cities next week (October 7-13) – beginning on Monday with a blockade of the Swanston and Flinders intersection in Melbourne’s CBD and a “human tide” marching along the Sydney harbour foreshore.

Protests are also planned for Perth and Adelaide.

The week of action is organised by Extinction Rebellion, a group of climate protesters that has already caused peak-hour chaos in Brisbane several times this year.

Extinction Rebellion was founded in Britain in 2018. Now a global organisation, it wants urgent action to prevent on climate change.

Nonviolent civil disobedience is at the core of its protest action.

Victoria Police North West Metro Region Commander Tim Hansen said disruptions were likely during the week in Melbourne, particularly at major city thoroughfares and arterial roads.

“We are well prepared to have a police presence at events throughout the week and will closely monitor crowd behaviour to ensure there are no breaches of the peace or other offences,” Commander Hansen said.

The planned week of protests comes just a day after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said activists in Queensland were putting lives at risk. On Thursday, he called for climate change demonstrators to be “named and shamed”, jailed and have welfare payments stopped.

“People should take these names and the photos of these people and distribute them as far and wide as they can, so that we shame these people,” Mr Dutton said.

“They are acting outside of the law. Let their families know what you think of their behaviour.”

Earlier this week, six people were charged with obstruction offences following a peak-hour protest that blocked traffic in Brisbane. Four more were also charged after a separate protest in which a woman climbed up a large tripod on a CBD bridge.

In previous protests, Extinction Rebellion activists have superglued themselves to pedestrian crossings.

Queensland Police said on Friday they were poised for mass arrests next week of Extinction Rebellion protesters, who are planning to invade the Brisbane CBD.

Police said the group’s organisers had refused to seek permission for the protests or to close roads. The demonstrations are planned for Monday-Friday during the city’s morning peak.

An Extinction Rebellion protest in Melbourne in September. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion also has a week of demonstrations planned for Sydney, starting with a “Rising Tide and Picnic” on Monday morning that will involve a “human tide” moving along the harbour foreshore near Circular Quay. There is also an occupation of Manly Beach planned for Friday, October 13.

“Public safety is our No.1 priority at these kinds of events, that includes those who are protesting and the broader community,” Commander Hansen said.

Victoria Police say they have discussed appropriate behaviour with the organisers of protests in Melbourne.

“As always, anyone coming to an event in Melbourne looking to disrupt others or create conflict and incite violence can expect a firm response from police,” Commander Hansen said.

However, they said commuters should be aware of possible disruptions to their travel, and they should allow extra time where possible.