SYDNEY (Reuters) – Climate change protesters marched in Sydney on Monday forcing police to close major roads in the city centre while morning traffic through the landmark Sydney Harbour Bridge was disrupted after a woman chained herself to her vehicle.
Eleven people were arrested, including the woman who police said allegedly put a bicycle lock around her neck and the steering wheel of a vehicle that was blocking all city-bound lanes. The vehicle has since been removed.
Dozens of members of Blockade Australia, a climate activist group, moved across major roads causing peak-hour traffic chaos for motorists and pedestrians. Television footage showed some people throwing garbage bins, construction barricades and milk crates on the road.
Banging drums and chanting “Australia’s climate destruction ends here”, protesters held banners with slogans including “Disrupt Sydney” and “Resist climate inaction”. Police estimated about 60 people were part of the protest.
Blockade Australia said the rally was in response to “Australia’s continued blocking of climate action”. The protests will continue all week, the organisers said on Twitter.
Climate change is a contentious issue in Australia which is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters on a per capita basis and is the world’s top exporter of coal and liquefied natural gas.
Under a new Labor government, Australia early this month raised the amount of carbon emissions it aims to cut by 2030, bringing the country more in line with other developed economies’ Paris climate accord commitments.
Climate experts have said global warming is likely to make extreme weather more frequent in Australia, where the last three years have seen devastating bushfires and frequent flooding.
(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Christopher Cushing)