Six days of unprecedented civil disobedience have starved Adani’s Abbot Point port of coal over the last week. Trains were stopped in a near continuous shutdown for over 75 hours during a week of non-violent direct action in central Queensland.
Seven activists from across Australia, all committed to fighting the threat of thermal coal induced climate change, took action against Adani. The seven scaled fences, evaded drones, locked themselves to rail infrastructure and suspended themselves from trees and tripods to block coal trains from entering the port. Before being arrested by police, they shared their actions in real time with thousands across the globe through live video streams, engaging with viewers, answering questions, and encouraging others to join their struggle.
Police response was substantial, with specialist units brought in from across Queensland in preparation for major disruption. They set up road blocks, harassing activist cars with vehicle searches and repeated breath tests. Meanwhile, peaceful protesters at the Abbott Point Coal Port were met with lines of heavily equipped riot-ready officers, and were constantly followed by airborne surveillance.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Action
A spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion Australia, one of the organisers of the week-long disruption, said, “the fact that so many people are stepping up to take these actions is an indication of the level of community concern about new fossil fuel proposals and imminent climate change”.
“We have public servants, doctors, teachers, scientists, religious figures, young and old from across the continent taking up the fight. Even the kids are going on strike. The community is no longer prepared to accept our politicians’ pathetic approach to climate change. Those who took action this week are simply brave individuals standing up for their survival and that of future generations.”
Extinction Rebellion Australia, part of an emerging global movement, have pledged to increase pressure on Adani’s Australian coal operations, and will seek to broaden their campaign against climate criminals worldwide.
Those who took action in the past week came to Central Queensland from across Australia, and participated in a variety of activities aimed at blocking coal from entering Adani’s Abbot Point Coal Terminal. Some background on these activists and their actions:
Sage and Lachlan (Newcastle) trekked 14 km through dense bushland to reach the Abbot Point perimeter fence while followed by security personnel and a drone. They were arrested as they climbed beneath the fence, but succeeded in stopping port operations for 4.5 hours nonetheless.
Jill (Canberra) scaled a tree near to the rail line and sat on a platform suspended for 21 hours. Trains could not pass without risking severing the lines supporting her.
Mark (Bundaberg) locked himself to a coal train where he remained until he was cut off by a police rescue unit.
Callum (Townsville) was suspended roughly 15 meters above the ground overnight before he was lowered to the ground by police.
Tim (Newcastle) blocked two rail lines by hanging from a tripod made from metal beams. Upon being presented with unsatisfactory bail conditions, he chose to remain in police custody for 55 hours before renegotiating his bail.
Freya (Perth) too advantage use of an innovative lock-on device when she locked herself to the rail tracks.
Altogether, the actions of these seven individuals starved Adani’s Abbot Point Terminal of coal for over 75 hours, and inspired thousands across the world to take similar actions to challenge the supremacy of the fossil fuel industry and prevent catastrophic climate change.