More than 100 protesters defied police to stop traffic in the CBD on June 27 for just under an hour at 8am as part of Blockade Australia’s (BA) week of climate action. BA is a non-violent direct action environment group.
Activists pulled construction barriers, rubbish bins and milk crates out into the streets to slow police and traffic down. At one stage, police kettled protesters, but did not make mass arrests. By the end of the day, they had arrested 11 people.
One 22 year-old activist from Lismore locked herself to the steering wheel of her car, blocking multiple lanes of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.
Spokesperson James Woods said: “We are facing a catastrophic climate collapse, the biggest existential threat our species has ever known, and the system that we call Australia is driving us straight past the point of no return.
“There is no possibility of meaningful change within this system. Australia has been designed to operate as a project of extraction and exploitation and without a total upheaval of this project, we have absolutely no chance of survival.
“Any dissent that is accepted by the system is an ineffective form of dissent. There is no such thing as a ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ protest. Every significant win for civil liberties over the last hundred years, from the vote to the end of apartheid, has relied on so-called illegal protest.”
A police raid on BA activists on June 19 led to seven people being arrested and 40 people being detained for five hours. Two activists were charged and are in Silverwater jail for three weeks. Several others have been released, but under draconian bail conditions, which include not associating with other BA activists.
Max Cumi, who is in Silverwater, said he was a “political prisoner”. “I am being held on prevaricated charges because I refuse to let this system continue destroying this continent, the climate and our right to a livable future. We need to stop destroying the world for profit.”
Extinction Rebellion drummer Richard Boult attended the morning action, drumming on the pavement while walking next to activists on the streets. After attending a BA media conference at 2.30pm that afternoon, he was arrested by five police officers and only released from Surry Hills Police Station five hours later on bail conditions that included staying 2 kilometers away from the CBD and not associating with BA activists.
[Blockade Australia plans to take action from June 27–July 2.]