Protesters back after 72 arrests
CLIMATE change activists are planning more disruptive protests in Brisbane on Friday afternoon, mirroring previous efforts that brought traffic to a standstill.
Hundreds of demonstrators flooded the city on Tuesday morning as part of Rebellion Day, blocking roads and facing off with police.
More than 70 people were arrested during the protest, organised by the group Extinction Rebellion, with most placed on strict conditions preventing them from entering the Brisbane CBD for three weeks.
The intersection of William and Margaret streets was blocked for hours.
This afternoon, in another demonstration by Uni Students for Climate Change, activists will meet in Brisbane Square at 5pm and march across the river to South Bank.
The group's spokesman, Carl Jackson, told The Courier-Mail that there would be "direct action" when the crowd arrives there at the height of the afternoon commute peak.
"That'll be a fun spectacle," Mr Jackson told the newspaper "It'll be on the theme of education because it's a uni student rally. It's a radical teach-in."
As well as drawing attention to their cause, Friday afternoon's rally is also in response to the arrests of dozens of activists on Tuesday, he said.
The response from police had left many "outraged", he said.
"We're marching to (South Bank) because many of the people who got arrested on Rebellion Day signed bail conditions that have got restrictions saying they can't enter the CBD zone for three weeks," Mr Jackson told the newspaper.
"We want them to be part of our protest, but we don't want them breaching bail, so we're going to march there to see all our friends."
The group's approach is to deliberately disrupt travel to bring greater attention to climate change and environmental issues.
In June, two people from Extinction Rebellion glued themselves to a pedestrian crossing on busy Queen Street in the CBD.
The pair locked their hands together in a metal pipe and glued that to the road, forcing the closure of the street for hours while police and paramedics worked to remove them.
A Facebook event for that protest said it was designed to "give commuters a little shock".
Additional protests were held throughout July, causing more mayhem. Extinction Rebellion and its supporters are unapologetic about the disruptions.
"If they really want to talk about us inconveniencing people and money being lost, what about when the seas are rising and there's million of climate refugees?" Mr Jackson told The Courier-Mail.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called for the protests to stop, saying the approach was upsetting people trying to go about their daily lives.
"Look, honestly, people have the right to protest peacefully in our state, but when you stop people going to and from their workplace, I don't think people like that," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"I don't like that, and I don't think other people like that."
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner echoed the sentiment during a confrontation with an Extinction Rebellion protester on Tuesday.
Ben Pennings, a former Greens candidate, barged into City Hall during a media conference and said the Liberal-National Party were "climate criminals".
"We're concerned about climate change, I'm concerned about my kids, grandkids, and the Lord Mayor's running away from that - it's very sad to see," Mr Pennings told reporters.
He was removed by police and arrested but later released.
Later, Mr Schrinner said the man and other protesters should be "ashamed" for disrupting the city. Mr Schrinner said he supported the right to peacefully protest but not the methods used recently.
"They are making a very negative difference, they are costing the community, they are costing business, and they are turning people off on this issue," he said.
"Every time people switch on the TV and see this, every time they're stuck in traffic or stuck in a bus, they are turning people off."
Superintendent Chris Stream said police had attempted to co-ordinate with the groups to minimise disruptions.
"We continue to urge protest leaders to engage with police so that we can map out a solution for lawful and peaceful protest activity," he said.