A man is in police custody after chaining himself to train tracks in Brisbane’s inner suburbs as part of Extinction Rebellion protests.
The arrest is just one of many expected today with activists out in force again after similar chaos across major cities yesterday.
With close to 100 people being arrested yesterday in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne police are warning that any unreasonable disruption to transport, roads and members of the public would not be tolerated.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has taken the controversial step of fast-tracking legislation to jail activists who lock themselves to concrete drums.
The government has condemned this week’s protests saying activists are putting themselves and others at risk and soaking up valuable police and emergency services resources.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said there was plenty of anecdotal evidence that protesters were “booby-trapping” devices with wire, metal and glass.
We’ve received advice from police that they have found evidence of materials in these devices that could cause harm,” he told ABC radio.
“What we’re seeing is an escalation in some activities and of course the laws have to be nimble to respond to these escalating tactics.”
The move comes after 29 arrests in the city yesterday, resulting in 10 activists being charged.
A man who suspended himself from Brisbane’s Story Bridge for six hours to urge the premier to declare a climate emergency was today released on bail.
Paul David Jukes, 49, of the Whitsunday region, briefly appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on one charge of unregulated high-risk activity.
He is due to reappear in the same court on November 20.
While Extinction Rebellion’s actions have so far only disrupted road traffic, NSW Police have issued a stern warning that they are aware of plans to target the rail network today and any interference with Sydney’s train timetables would not be tolerated.
“The rail network is an integral part of the integrity of the city so I would ask that protesters not disrupt people going about their day-to-day rail travel and ensure that they are safe,” Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said.
Since protests began on Monday, more than 40 activists have been arrested in Sydney so far and more arrests are likely today.
The group plan to meet at Central Station this morning and an Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman has assured that the group’s actions will not be disruptive, but rather involve activists boarding trains to discuss climate issues with commuters.
Just after 7.30am, about 35 activists on bicycles rode from their camp at Carlton Gardens and headed to the intersection of Gipps and Hoddle Streets in Collingwood, creating a blockade for pedestrians and commuters.
Yesterday, 59 people were arrested following a demonstration at the intersection of Collins and Spring Street with 35 being issued penalty notices for failing to comply with police directions.
A planned tram strike was called off in Melbourne today because of safety concerns around the ongoing climate protests in the city.
“It’s the last thing I want to be doing. I don’t want to be using my annual leave to disrupt traffic, I want to be using it at home with my four children,” Dr Christine Canty told Today.
“I am really sorry that we are doing this, but it is the last choice that we have to prevent complete climate and ecological breakdown.”
Tram drivers had planned to walk off the job between 10am and 2pm today but the Rail, Tram and Bus Union agreed to postpone the action because of Extinction Rebellion actions.
“In a show of good faith, the RTBU have chosen to withdraw their notice to take industrial action this week,” Yarra Tram chief executive Nicolas Gindt said in a statement.
“At the end of the day, safety is top priority for everybody at Yarra Trams.”
There were concerns around safety and drivers would also have been trapped on their trams if they were locked-in.
The union wants a five per cent annual pay rise over three years, a change from their initial demand of a six per cent increase.
But strikes could still continue if the tram company does not meet the union’s demands, according to a spokesman.
Extinction Rebellion activists across the world continued the chaos overnight, demanding governments declare an immediate state of climate emergency.
Overnight, protesters have glued themselves to buildings with authorities in London warning they will not hesitate to make more arrests on day two of protests in the UK city.
Metropolitan Police confirmed they had arrested 212 people adding to the already 319 people arrested on Monday.
Police warned that any group wishing to continue with their protests must go to Trafalgar Square on day three.