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Extinction Rebellion protests Melbourne: Activists block streets

Climate protesters are laying across the road at one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections demanding action on climate change.

Extinction Rebellion protesters have gathered outside Southern Cross Station with plans to “shut down the Spencer Street end of the city”.

A group spokesman earlier told they were planning to disrupt traffic but that was “all we are revealing at this stage”.

As many as 100 protesters have set up blockades all four corners of the intersection at Spencer and Collins streets, physically blocking peak hour traffic — including cars and trams — from passing through.

Others, with their arms linked together in plastic pipes, have set themselves up in the middle of the intersection. Several protesters, including an elderly woman, have already been arrested.

The group has been told to “go limp” if police try to drag them away to avoid resist arrest charges, the Herald Sun reports.

In Brisbane, serial protestor Eric Herbert has chained himself to a device inside a vehicle at the Tower of Power, the Courier Mail reports.

Herbert was arrested after attaching himself to a station wagon not far from where other activists had blocked a busy intersection with a boat.

It follows three days of activity on the city’s streets as part of a so-called “Spring Rebellion”.

The group of at least 100 activists has planned to camp each night in Carlton Gardens.

Earlier this week, they stopped traffic outside Melbourne’s parliament. A woman who was trying to cross Collins Street to make arrangements after her mother’s death broke down in tears as she spoke with A Current Affair.

“Dad passed away 10 months ago and Mum passed away on Sunday at home in that building,” she said.

“I’m supposed to be there having hospital beds picked up, mats picked up, lifting machines picked up. I heard that these d**kheads were here yesterday so I rescheduled it, and I’ve come along this morning (and) they’re here again.”

Reporter Reid Butler told Sally the protest was “for the environment” and “civil disobedience” was the tactic.

“F***ing environment. People are more important,” she said. “They think it’s so important but what is important is the everyday, good Australian people just trying to go about their everyday lives. It’s not fair.”

The protests have been carried out around the world. In London, one woman’s video went viral after she shared her disgust at the protesters.

She said she had to walk 20 minutes with a cancer patient to hospital because cars were blocked from major roads.

A spokeswoman for the protesters, university student Natalie Acreman, said disrupting traffic was a “wake up call” for Australians about the real danger of doing nothing on climate change.

“In the next couple of decades, we’re looking at the total destruction of life as we know it if there is no genuine action taken,” she said in a statement.

“We need to totally transform the system … If I don’t act — if we don’t act — then nothing will change. We have a government that will barely acknowledge the crisis that we’re living through.

“We don’t have time to wait until the next election. We actually have to take this into our own hands and force the government into action.”

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