Dozens Of Climate Activists Arrested, Dragged Away As Protests Kick Off Nationwide
Climate activists staged a sit-in on a busy Sydney intersection and dozens were arrested as protests kicked off across the country.
The Extinction Rebellion movement has planned a week-long "spring rebellion" in Australian cities from Monday until Sunday -- part of global protests against inaction on climate change.
"This isn’t a distant apocalypse," the group's website reads.
"People all over the world are suffering and dying right now. Whole species are going extinct. And it will only get worse. The time to act is now."
In Sydney, protesters staged a sit-in on an intersection at the busy Broadway, blocking traffic, while 'Red Rebels' -- a sub-group of Extinction Rebellion -- marched through the CBD dressed in red robes and white masks.
There were dramatic scenes as protesters were bundled into a mobile "custody unit" in the Sydney CBD Monday afternoon, after allegedly failing to move on when asked to do so by police.
NSW Police said 30 people were arrested over a range of offences, including obstructing traffic and "disobeying reasonable direction".
Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said police respected the right of groups and individuals to protest.
However, he said people " have a responsibility to the community and local businesses to ensure they can go about their normal activities without being impacted on or put at risk".
"Unfortunately, despite the warnings issued by local police and our colleagues from across the country, this group continue to set out to break the law and put themselves and others at risk," Willing said.
In Melbourne, the week's events started with about 20 people attending a day-long meditation session on the steps of Victorian Parliament.
About 100 people were at the movement's base camp at Carlton Gardens, where some people discussed the group's values.
But things are expected to ramp up in the evening, with protesters intending to make their presence known in the CBD by blocking an intersection.
There was a notable presence in Canberra on Monday morning, when nearly 300 people marched across Commonwealth Bridge, blocking traffic.
A march was also held in Brisbane, where people made their way across Victoria Bridge.
Seven activists were arrested in South Brisbane and in the CBD, Queensland Police said.
In Hobart, about 30 people crossed the Tasman Bridge, with another handful stationing themselves outside state parliament.
In Perth, activists focused on the perspective of traditional owners and an indigenous Welcome To Country ceremony.
Extinction Rebellion specifically wants governments to "tell the truth" about climate change by declaring a climate and ecological emergency.
It also wants them to prevent biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and let the public drive decisions on climate change through a Citizens' Assembly.
Earlier on Monday, Victorian activist Miriam Robinson said the group must "get right up in people's grills" to convince governments to take action.
"We always apologise for causing inconvenience. But this is nothing compared to the inconvenience that is going to start happening when we start to run out of food and water," she said.