Police charge 72 demonstrators over Australian climate rally
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Police arrested dozens of climate protesters who disrupted traffic Tuesday in the biggest city in Australia’s main coal mining state.
The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests by environmental group Extinction Rebellion to disrupt downtown Brisbane.
Police charged 72 people following the protest, which involved about 300 demonstrators, some of whom sat on roads, Queensland Police Superintendent Chris Stream said.
The protesters, aged between 18 and 73, were charged with offences including public nuisance, disobeying lawful directions and obstructing police, he said.
Stream said he was disappointed to see roads used by emergency services blocked by demonstrators.
“What you have is these protesters committing this unplanned disruptive activity,” Stream said.
“Some of these routes are major routes for emergency vehicle routes such as to and from hospitals,” he said, adding “that is very, very disruptive.”
Protest organizer Laura Lucardie said causing disruption for commuters was the goal of the demonstration.
Lucardie said the protesters were happy to go to jail for their cause and labelled the police response appropriate.
“If we can fill the jails, we’ll fill the jails,” she said.
She said further protests were being planned.
Most of Australia’s coal is mined in Queensland and the opposition center-left Labor Party lost votes there in May’s federal election, in part because of a campaign promise to make deeper cuts to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.