20
Aug

Extinction Rebellion protesters blockade United Petroleum depot in New Town, Hobart

Four environmental activists have been arrested, after three of them chained themselves to large concrete barrels and blocked off a busy industrial road on Thursday morning.

The United fuel depot on Selfs Road was blocked off by Extinction Rebellion protesters as part of their campaign against the use of fossil fuels.

Police issued move-on orders to the protesters, however one man did not comply and another three women refused to unchain themselves from their concrete barrels.

An officer attempted to physically hoist one of the protesters, Jackie McDonald, to her feet, seemingly unaware that she was shackled to the barrel.

Afterwards, specialist crews were called in to remove the protesters from their barrels.

Sergeant Karl Krelle said the protesters’ actions were illegal, and that they would be charged accordingly.

“Police can lawfully provide a direction for people to leave, particularly when they’re obstructing a roadway. This is a public street, and the obstruction of public streets is unlawful,” Sergeant Krelle said.

“We’ve brought in our specialised groups which have specialist training in relation to lock on devices, and they’ll work with the protesters to safely extricate them.”

The crew managed to remove the concrete surrounding the metal drums and remove the three women shackled within.

None of the three women appeared to have sustained any serious injuries in the process.

Extinction Rebellion activist Ellen Witte said police had cracked down on them a lot harder this time around than on previous occasions.

“Everyone was shocked. We hadn’t seen this before because the police have always been supportive of us,” Ms Witte said.

“We are sorry to inconvenienced people but we do believe this is such an important issue that we do think it’s fair to disrupt and cause inconvenience.”

Retired general practitioner and ecoactivist Clare Smith they were upping the ante in light of the IPCC report on climate change handed down this month.

“We’re here to try and make the point and loudly as we can: we really need action now on climate change and that means moving away from fossil fuels.”

“Our government has known this for decades and there’s been no plan or preparation… we’re not here to shoot the messengers who drive the trucks today and we’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

EARLIER:

Several environmental activists are currently being arrested, after blocking off a busy industrial road this morning.

Members of Extinction Rebellion have glued and shackled themselves to large concrete blocks, refusing to move until police physically force them to.

The blockage is taking place at Selfs Point Road in New Town, just outside the United Petroleum building.

The activists say they are protesting the fossil fuel industry and the carbon emissions they emit.

Police have issued move-on orders, however several of the Extinction Rebellion activists have refused to follow those orders.

Extinction Rebellion protester and University of Tasmania molecular biologist Sharee McCammon said they were determined to get their message across.

“We are aware that we inconvenience people, but we do this to bring much needed attention to the most urgent issue of our times,” Ms McCammon said.

This disruption is nothing compared to the impacts of climate change on the lives and wellbeing of current and future generations.”

19-year-old Dominic Burgess said they hoped their act of civil disobedience would put pressure on the government.

We need to transition away from fossil fuels urgently because of the climate crisis. We have no choice but to drive around in our cars because the government doesn’t provide any cheap or affordable alternatives,” Mr Burgess said.

“We need free or super cheap public transport and open bike paths so we can get away from our reliance on fossil fuels which is destroying the environment and causing this climate crisis that will affect all of us.”

EARLIER:

The Extinction Rebellion group has formed human blockades outside the United Petroleum depot in New Town this morning, disrupting fuel supplies to protest fossil fuels.

A spokesperson said the disruptions aimed to “draw attention to Australia’s continued dependence on fossil fuels for our transportation system”.

“While emissions from electricity generation are (very slowly) coming down, due in large part to the high uptake of solar and wind in Australia in spite of Federal Government policies, transport emissions continue to rise,” they said.

Actions are also under way in Brisbane and Adelaide.

In Hobart, protesters have locked-on to concrete barrels preventing the fuel trucks from entering and exiting the site.

Claire Smith, a retired GP from Tasmania, said: “If people find themselves to be working in industries that are major contributors to climate change, then those workers need Government support via a consultative process to transition away from those jobs and not be left high and dry when those industries inevitably go bottom up. If the government really cared about these workers, they would have started these just transition conversations a decade ago as they have in Europe.”

Events were planned in Melbourne, Sydney, and Newcastle but could not be carried out due to Covid lockdowns.

Extracted from The Mercury