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'Our very survival as a species is at risk': Climate change activists arrested for blocking traffic in Sydney

'We’ve passed the laws, we will throw the book at those people because their behaviour is completely unacceptable,' said Perrottet.

'Our very survival as a species is at risk': Climate change activists arrested for blocking traffic in Sydney
Fireproof Australia
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Sydney traffic was interrupted by protesters from Fireproof Australia who laid across Catherine Street on the City West Link in morning peak hour traffic.

To ‘raise awareness for the global climate crisis’, Fireproof brought traffic to a standstill, wasting fossil fuel as angry workers called for them to move out of the way.

Those involved were arrested, with New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet insisting that protesters are entitled to free speech, but not to disrupt the lives of other people.

“We’ve passed the laws, we will throw the book at those people because their behaviour is completely unacceptable,” said Perrottet.

“If you really want to lose support in the community for your cause, keep acting like that. Behaviour like that has no place in our state.”

Fireproof Australia, which is tied to the climate movement Extinction Rebellion, describes itself as “a campaign of civil resistance proportional to the existential threat we face.”

Brandishing their slogan, “Floods, Fires, Smoke” the members appeared to be prompted by the IPCC’s latest release of documents related to climate change — something they do on a regular basis.

Leichardt Police quickly arrested the protesters, to the relief of commuters trying to get to work. At a similar previous protest, motorists got out and confronted protesters. In that instance, a motorist dragged a protester out of the way.

Dr Martin Wolterding, professor of Biology and Marine Ecology, was among those holding up traffic. He claimed that there were 1,200 scientists in 26 countries prepared to engage in similar behaviour and risk being arrested in order to raise awareness for the “climate crisis.”

On the group’s official Twitter account yesterday, Wolterding said, “Civilisation and perhaps our very survival as a species is at risk.”

Followed by a general comment from the organisation: “Out of police cells and right back into the road the next day to support #sciencerebellion. We follow the science.”

Four protesters have now been charged with wilfully preventing the free passage of a person or vehicle, failing to comply with directions under Part 14, and refusing to disclose their identities when required.

New South Wales have passed an amendment to the Roads Act 1993 1900 to deal with this kind of protest event that sets out to ‘wreak economic chaos’ — a law that Fireproof have taken exception to. While they were not subject to the law this time around, next time they could face $22,000 fines or two years in jail depending on where they stage their protest.

The group released a statement on their social media account:

“Defying newly passed laws, Fireproof Australia supporters blockade a major road at Botany Bay in peak hour with their bodies and call for a Large Ariall Tanker fleet of waterbombing planes to fight fires.”

Many Australians would agree with their demands to expand the state’s firefighting capabilities (given that Australia has always been a nation of bushfires), but few are happy about being caught up in peak hour traffic.

Their demands are:

  1. An Aussie-owned Aerial Firefighting Fleet.
  2. Rehome climate disaster survivors at the government’s expense.
  3. Smoke filters in schools, aged care, and disability facilities.
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  • By Avi Yemini

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