News State NSW News Arrests as climate protesters blockade Sydney
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Arrests as climate protesters blockade Sydney

Climate protesters block Sydney streets

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A woman who chained herself to the steering wheel of her car and blocked the Harbour Tunnel is one of 11 climate protesters arrested in Sydney.

The protesters were among a group of 50 to 60 activists who kicked off a week of disruption in Sydney with an illegal march through the city centre on Monday.

The protesters were among a group of 50 to 60 activists who kicked off a week of disruption in Sydney with an illegal march through the city centre on Monday.

Blockade Australia began its threatened protests “to cause disruption to the political and economic systems of Australia which are driving climate destruction”, with a group converging about 8am at Hyde Park.

They marched towards the harbour, chanting, playing drums, pulling down signs, dragging wheelie bins onto the road and blocking intersections. They were met with a large police presence, including officers on horses and overhead in helicopters.

Protesters dispersed when police stopped them at the intersection of George and Bridge streets, blocking access to the Harbour Bridge.

There was a frightening incident when a motorist appeared to try to drive through the protest.

The vehicle slowed as it made contact with the protesters. They were pushed away, while some tried to stand in front of the four-wheel-drive.

It kept moving and drove away from the group. No one is believed to have been injured.

Car appears to drive through climate protest in Sydney

Source: Nine Network

Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan said police were investigating the incident but blamed protesters for their “unlawful” acts of disruption.

“The behaviour of this group was nothing short of criminal activity,” he said.

“The throwing of bicycles, the throwing of garbage bins, the throwing of other items in the path of police, in the path of media, in the path of innocent members of the public just walking by, will not be tolerated and cannot be by the people of NSW,” he said.

The protest dispersed shortly after, when it was blocked by police at the intersection of George and Bridge streets, blocking access to the harbour bridge.

Blockade Australia live-streamed video of a 22-year-old woman who parked a car at the northern entrance to the Harbour Tunnel to cause more disruption.

The tunnel was shut down about 8.15 when the woman blocked all city-bound lanes for about an hour.

All traffic was diverted via the harbour bridge and traffic was backed up for several kilometres.

NSW Police say the woman put a bicycle lock around her neck and attached herself to the steering wheel before being removed from the car and arrested.

The group said the woman was from Lismore, the epicentre of unprecedented floods this year in northern NSW.

Mr Dunstan noted the haphazard nature of Blockade Australia’s tactics proved to be troublesome for police before people were arrested.

“The group this morning was highly unorganised and erratic, and they were moving throughout the CBD in an unstructured format. It was difficult to get ahead of them,” he said.

Blockade Australia said it would continue to cause disruptions all week.

“Disruption to the infrastructure of Australia’s project of exploitation is essential in cutting through the climate denial that this system survives off,” it said.

Olivia, a spokeswoman for the group, said Sydney had been where Australia’s destruction of the continent had been most intense.

“Our collective survival rests on organised opposition and the use of strategic direct action to stand against this project of destruction.”

Earlier this year, the NSW government passed legislation to crackdown on illegal protesters following several arrests of climate change activists blocking traffic and access to ports.

Protesters face a maximum penalty of two years’ jail and $22,000 fines for disrupting traffic or preventing access on roads.

The legislation also created new offences targeting people blocking access to major facilities such as ports and railways.

Blockade Australia said it would hold a media conference on Monday afternoon.

-with AAP