About 50 activists defied police intimidation to protest the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour on November 4.
University Students for Climate Justice, the National Union of Students and Extinction Rebellion organised a counter conference to hear from those affected by mining and to discuss alternatives.
The activists shared food, music and stories of resistance against mining. They were surrounded by 600 police.
Despite the over-policing and intimidation of climate activists, people are still resisting the planet’s destruction.
Many groups have been condemning the increased police presence in New South Wales over the past few months.
Spokesperson Alice Seedling said: “We’re here today because of who is in there — representatives of more than 800 mining companies from all over the world, including BHP, Whitehaven and Shell.”
Seedling said as the companies are “talking about making money at the expense of everyone else”, it is “only fitting” we get together to talk about how we are going to survive the next few decades and “look out for each other”.
Blockade IMARC spokesperson Maddox Gifford said: “We see through the green washing that IMARC and the participating mining companies are trying to sell us.
“We know we shouldn’t sacrifice land, water and life to continue hugely unsustainable lifestyles fuelled by greed and competition. We have a better vision for the world.”
In the days leading up to the protest, police went to several activists houses to warn them against attending the protest. Some were given infringement warnings.
Maddie Clark, University of Sydney (USyd) SRC environment officer, said: “It’s outrageous that the police threatened to fine and arrest me for the supposed crime of handing out leaflets.”
Simon Upitis, incoming USyd SRC environment officer, said: “The NSW government’s anti-protest laws are an attack on the democratic right to protest. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right. While Woodside, Rio Tinto, Chevron and BP are meeting to strategise how to further destroy the planet for profit, we face fines and police intimidation.”