On Friday, climate activists took to one of Australia’s most iconic beaches to raise awareness about climate change.
As part of the Extinction Rebellion’s global “Week of Change” activists buried their heads in the sand at Sydney’s Manly Beach in a bid to bring attention to climate change. The demonstration, which was organised by various Extinction Rebellion groups from the Sydney region was appropriately called “Heads in the Sand”.
“As we face into the Climate Emergency, it seems many around us have their heads in the sand, afraid to face the reality of what is coming,” the Facebook event said.
“To highlight the futility of the heads in sand approach, we will gather with as many people as possible on Manly beach (Ocean Side).”
The Facebook event says 155 people braved the weather and “went” to the event at Manly.
The Week of Change started on Monday October 7 with more than 60 countries around the world reportedly taking part.
“Starting Monday 7 October, many thousands of rebels and allied movements will return once again to disrupt capital cities around the world – blocking roads, bridges, transport links and more – to demand immediate action in the face of the Climate and Ecological Emergency,” the Extinction Rebellion website says.
On Saturday, which marks the sixth day of the protests, activists are expected to take to the streets in Melbourne and take part in a mass nudie run, according to Nine News.
Protestors have reportedly slept over night at Carlton Gardens and police have been monitoring them.
Protesters shut down Perth’s CBD
Police arrested 65 people on Friday, following protests which reportedly brought traffic in Perth to a standstill.
Major roads, including a freeway exit into the city, St Georges Terrace, and the intersection at the Hay Street Mall and William Street were closed off on Friday morning.
One of the protestors arrested was dressed as a pirate and had glued his feet to a treasure chest, according to AAP.
While people took to talkback radio to complain about the inconvenience, protestors handed out flyers apologising.
"We are in a climate and ecological emergency," the flyer read. "We need the government to make changes now and they are not listening. Non-violent disruption is the only morally acceptable tool we have left."
Among the protestors was former federal MP Scott Ludlam, who was arrested in Sydney earlier this week at a climate protest and said it was worth it.
"I'm willing to put my body on the line," Mr Ludlam said.
The former senator was among thirty climate activists who were arrested in Sydney at the start of a week-long protests.
Superintendent Omar Chahal said there had been 65 arrests, two people summonsed and one juvenile given a move-on notice. Charges are expected to include disorderly conduct and obstructing police.
"I actually thought they were very respectful. I would say they were actually very restrained," he said. "They got their message across that they want to portray to the government about climate change."
Nine charged at climate protest in Tasmania
Nine people were arrested in Tasmania for failing to comply with a police officer’s directions at an Extinction Rebellion protest in Launceston on Friday.
About more than 100 people attended the protest, according to AAP and police said most were “well behaved”.
However two 77-year-old men, two 77-year-old women, a 33-year old woman and another four men aged 63, 64, 65 and 69 refused to move on when the permitted time for the protest ran out. They were arrested and charged with failing to comply with a police officer’s directions.
Home Affairs Minister attacks climate activists
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton branded climate activists as “radicals” and “outliers”, telling Nine News they are doing “more harm than good”.
"They are, frankly, just thumbing their nose at Australians who want to work, run their businesses, [and] don't want to be disrupted by these people."
Some of their activities, which has included locking themselves to concrete objects and fences and glueing themselves to roads, have been criticised for disrupting commuters and businesses and for taking up police time.
Mr Dutton again raised the prospect of charging protesters acting without permits for the cost of the police response.
"When you are acting outside of the law, which these people are doing, you are diverting valuable police resources. I think there should be a price to pay for that," he said.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and others have been blaming courts for the current wave of protests by climate activists and calling for mandatory sentencing to stop them.
Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts has offered his support for new laws designed to crack down on protesters in Queensland. But mandatory sentencing called for by some critics of climate protesters could cause "significant injustice", Mr Potts said.
"There is a complete difference between a spotty 18 year old standing on a street corner yelling 'what do we want and when do you want it now' as opposed to someone who chains themselves to a railway line and potentially could derail a train or make it go off the tracks or hold it up for hours," he told the ABC.
"And in those circumstances the court's discretion as to what to do should not be fettered."
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