St George and shire protestors arrested in Extinction Rebellion protest

St George and Sutherland Shire climate protestors were among those arrested during the Extinction Rebellion demonstration in Sydney yesterday.

Police arrested 30 people during the demonstration in Sydney's CBD which saw protestors blocking the road outside the UTS on Broadway.

Alleged offences committed ranged from obstruct traffic to disobey reasonable direction.

It was one of a series of Extinction Rebellion mass civil disobedience protests held around the country and in major cities around the world.

Local protestors included Sutherland Climate Action Network founder Jonathon Doig and former Hurstville councillor for The Greens Anne Wagstaff.

Ms Wagstaff said she was arrested and charged and released on bail after six-hours in a police cell.

"The bail conditions appear to be onerous," she said.

"I must not go near or contact or try to go near or contact (except through a legal representative) any members of the group Extinction Rebellion and I am not to enter the Sydney City CBD or go within a 2km radius of the Sydney Town Hall.

"I sat down because there is a climate emergency and our governments are failing us," she said.

"I believe stronger action needs to be taken now."

Ms Wagtaff said she was not there representing The Greens.

"I was there as an individual who is concerned for our community and the environment."

Mr Doig was charged under the Roads Act with 'Not comply with police direction regarding road'.

"The police behaved well, apart from one officer using excessive force in the compliance hold to my right hand as I was dragged away," he said.

Mr Doig was not injured in the incident.

"We were held in Goulburn Street police station for six hours before release," he said.

"There were three to a small cell, with a glass front wall, like puppies in a pet shop.

"The mood was buoyant as we sang protest songs and cheered each new arrival. Police made regular checks on our well-being, gave us chilled water and allowed us toilet breaks and phone calls.

"They also switched the TVs to ABC News so we could watch the coverage."

Mr Doig said the gathering was apolitical.

"I didn't see any political signs there," he said.

The protestors were demanding a number of measures from the government.

"We are asking the government to tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency and act to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025," he said.

"When I founded the Sutherland Climate Action Network I briefed Scott Morrison in 2008 on the science of the climate emergency and asked him to speak out and he failed to do so," Mr Doig said.

"Here we are 11 years later at the point of no return and our emissions are still rising, so we need to take the next step which is mass civil disobedience because otherwise it will be too late," he said.

Central Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing APM, said public safety is the number one priority for police during any protest activity.

"While police respect the right of individuals and groups to protest, we have a responsibility to the community and local businesses to ensure they can go about their normal activities without being impacted on or put at risk," Assistant Commissioner Willing said.

"Unfortunately, despite the warnings issued by local police and our colleagues from across the country, this group continue to set out to break the law and put themselves and others at risk.

"We are aware that this particular group of protestors intend to cause significant disruption to the community, and any future activity of this nature will not be tolerated by NSW Police.

"Anyone who chooses to flout the rules and cause trouble should expect to feel the full force of the law," Assistant Commissioner Willing said.

Comments