Thank you Daniel Andrews, these are the very same lot that elected you on the climate change platform, now you are whinging about it. Just political point scoring at its obvious worst. Wake up and stay consistent about it all will you? Just another grubby politician who thinks he can go with popular opinion to win a vote. You have already blown it big time.
Extinction Rebellion protests shut down streets in Melbourne CBD for second day
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has questioned the methods of climate activists as demonstrators blocked traffic and trams in Melbourne’s CBD for the second day in a row.
- The activists were preparing for disruptions throughout the week
- The Premier said the protesters were not going to “win many friends” with the action
- The demonstrations are part of an international campaign organised by Extinction Rebellion
More than 100 protesters blocked several busy intersections as part of a plan to “swarm” the city throughout the week to draw attention to climate change.
The activists left Carlton Gardens, where a core group had camped overnight, splitting into groups to lead police through the city for an hour before converging at the steps of the Old Treasury Building.
Police arrested a number of demonstrators who were blocking the intersection of Spring and Collins streets.
Protesters chanted “we’ll be back” as the last person was carried into a police van shortly after 1:00pm.
Some members of the group moved through the city, stopping at the offices of resources conglomerate BHP, before moving to the busy intersection of Swanston and Collins streets.
The protests are part of an international campaign coordinated by Extinction Rebellion, an activist group that rose to prominence in April when it disrupted traffic in central London for 11 days.
The group is calling for governments to declare a climate emergency, make a rapid transition away from coal and reduce emissions to zero by 2025.
“The right to peacefully protest, the right to take to the streets to peacefully protest if that’s your choice, to make your point is very important in our democratic system,” Mr Andrews said.
“At the same time, there are different ways in which you perhaps persuade people to your argument.
“I just don’t think you win many friends by making their day more difficult than it need be.”
In Brisbane, police tried to negotiate with a man hanging from a harness off the underside of Story Bridge. Extinction Rebellion said the stunt was not part of the larger protests.
Demonstrators ready to be arrested
Members of the Melbourne group were preparing to demonstrate in the CBD all week, while cities like London were preparing for a fortnight of disruptions.
Similar demonstrations blocked traffic around the country on Monday evening, causing widespread traffic disruptions.
Ten people were arrested at a demonstration at the intersection of Melbourne’s busy Flinders and Swanston streets for failing to obey orders to move on.
Two of those arrested were charged with intentionally obstructing an emergency worker.
Police returned to the intersection on Tuesday, some sheltering from the intermittent rain.
Spokeswoman Miriam Robinson said the plan was to “swarm” city centre intersections throughout the day.
“Our intention is not to hold people up for hours and hours and shut the whole city down, we’re not here to spoil everyone’s day, that’s not our reason for being,” Ms Robinson said.
“What we’re trying to do is draw attention to the climate emergency. And unfortunately we’re driven to do things like this, because this is what gets the attention, this is what causes government to respond.”
Members of the collective declare whether they are willing to be arrested when they sign up to participate in the demonstrations.
Ms Robinson said Extinction Rebellion was about being “polite, respectful, peaceful” and they had “peacekeepers” in the demonstrations to keep them non-violent.
“We’ve done marches, we’ve signed petitions, we’ve written letters, we’ve done all those things, we’ve been doing all those things for decades, and it’s not working. Our emissions are still going up, the climate crisis gets worse and worse, temperatures are rising, sea levels are rising.”