Mass Protest In New South Wales Over Climate Inaction ‘Not An Isolated Incident’
Australia remains one of the largest coal producers in the world, with a string of new coal mines, oil fields and gas projects currently in government planning pipelines.
Over the weekend, a fleet of Kayaks involving an estimated 3,000 people blocked shipping traffic at the Port of Newcastle on Australia’s east coast.
Among the 109 people arrested was Uniting Church reverend Alan Stuart, who said he wanted to protect his “grandchildren and future generations” from climate disasters.
Gov’t Asked To Do More To Slash Emissions
Protest group Rising Tide, which organised the blockade, highlighted the need to urgently phase out fossil fuels to avoid catastrophic climate collapse.
Authorities had agreed to let the protest run for 30 hours, but police boats started closing in when the deadline passed and crowds of activists refused to leave the water.
Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt said nationwide demonstrations would continue to swell if the government did not put more efforts to slash emissions.
Australian States Targeting Protests With Strict Laws
Several Australian states have passed stringent regulations in recent years targeting climate protests, drawing flak from UN investigators and civil rights organisations.
Late last year, climate protester Deanna Coco was jailed for 15 months after blocking traffic on Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. Her sentence was later cancelled on appeal.
Ahead of his arrest, the 97-year-old Stuart involved in the protest over the weekend said: “I think it is my duty to do what I can and to stand up for what I know is right.”
Mass Protest Ahead Of Key Climate Summit In UAE
Amnesty International’s Pacific researcher Kate Schuetze has responded to news reports of arrests: “It is deeply discouraging to see the kind of outcome after peaceful protests.”
But she also highlighted how “hugely inspiring” it was to see the “creativity, ingenuity and solidarity of the protesters who took to kayaks to oppose climate inaction.”
Schuetze said those attending COP28 in Dubai later this week “should take note that the mass protest … is not an isolated incident but part of a global pushback for change now.”