Climate protesters have disrupted coal shipments and motorway traffic at ports in Newcastle, Brisbane and Melbourne.
A climate protester has suspended herself from a rail bridge at the Newcastle coal ports, blocking trains, as coordinated protests were mounted at ports in Melbourne and Brisbane. The woman was livestreaming her solitary protest online and police were on site.
As she swung several hundred metres above the ground from the Kooragang rail bridge, she said the action was in response to Australia’s lack of action on climate change.
In Brisbane, a Blockade Australia protester caused major disruption on the Port of Brisbane Motorway at Lytton on Monday morning, sitting atop a bamboo pole.
Blockade Australia said in a statement the protests were part of a “coordinated mobilisation in response to Australia’s facilitation of the climate and ecological crisis and its active blocking of impactful action towards a safe climate”.
The NSW premier, Chris Minns, said while people have the right to demonstrate, protests in precarious sites put emergency service personnel at risk.
“Emergency service workers, particularly the police, are put in extreme danger as a result of having to go and remove people from dangerous situations,” he said on 2GB radio.
“It’s one of the reasons we supported the previous government’s protest laws which are going to remain in place.”
The previous Coalition government introduced harsh penalties for protesters whose actions impact the flow of traffic and the abilities of emergency personnel to get to accidents and emergencies.
Amendments to the Crimes Act passed by the NSW parliament last year impose jail terms of up to two years, and fines of $22,000, for protesters who cause “damage or disruption” to major roads or major public facilities.
In a statement, Blockade Australia said direct action like blocking the port is needed to shake up the system to move on from “business as usual”.
Australian Associated Press
Published: 2023-06-19 00:55:10