By Joe Montero
Hundreds of people came out in Melbourne’s late last Friday afternoon (21 June). They blockaded the Bourke and Swanston Streets intersection in the city centre, then marched further north along Swanston Street, to the State Library.
Those who taking part were there on fairly short notice, to declare their rebellion, in an action organised by university students, a part of the emerging Extinct Rebellion movement in Australia.
The movement (XR in its commonly used abbreviation), began in the United Kingdom, where it became such a force that the British parliament declared a climate emergency. Extinct Rebellion is spreading around the world, including Australia.
Affinity groups are springing up across cities, regional centres and many other places.
In Melbourne on Friday, the business of the city was severely disrupted. Extinct Rebellion’s strategy strives to win public support, tied to relying on meaningful action to force change through, instead of lobbying politicians, who often show they favour the corporate world and have little if any intention, of doing anything about the climate crisis.
The idea is that they must be forced to act.
In Melbourne’s cold winter evening the vibe was unmistakable. There is an emerging realisation that it is not enough to complain and ask. Only by standing up and doing, can change be made. It is raising a new form of politics for many and generating a new wave of grass roots activism.
This is the message coming through.
Melbourne’s action came along with by actions in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra and other places.
In Brisbane, more than a thousand people stopped for a time on the city’s Victoria bridge, causing major disruption to peak hour traffic. They then moved down Russel Street in the South Bank, where seven of them glued themselves to the road, before being removed by police and detained for breaching the peace. No charges have been laid so far.
On Tuesday, two others set a precedent by gluing themselves to a pedestrian crossing in Queen Street. They were arrested, charged with public nuisance and will appear in court on 2 July.
They then gathered around the ABC headquarters, also in South Bank.
As well as supporting Extinct Rebellion’s core calls, these actions around Australia highlighted the need to take on, the previous week’s approval of the Adani’s Carmichael coal mine at the Galilee Basin in Queensland.
Disruptive actions will continue and gather pace over the coming months, in a strategy aiming to gather momentum for Extinction Rebellion’s three demands. A declaration of a climate emergency, action to eliminate carbon emissions to zero by 2025, and the convocation of a People’s Assembly to oversee implementation.
Why do people become part of Extinction Rebellion?
Video from Extinction Rebellion Australia
Extinction Rebellion action did not only take place in Australia this weekend. It happened in New York as well.
In New York yesterday
Video from News2Share