Extinction Rebellion

“The police state that we have seen elsewhere in the world is right here now”

“The police state that we have seen elsewhere in the world is right here now”

By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 1 July 2022


David Hood and Kate Patterson observed the Blockade Australia actions in Sydney, and say everyone needs to take action.

David: We’re down in Sydney, and we’ve been observing the actions of Blockade Australia in blocking streets in Sydney and disrupting generally. Kate, you observed some actions this week. What is your take on what’s going on?

Kate: I’ve seen a small but dedicated group of people that are smart, and brave, and passionate about creating a future where we have a liveable planet. And they’ve been causing disruption in the streets of Sydney. The police reaction to that has been extraordinary. I’ve seen friends being maced with pepper spray because they were marching on the street. I’ve heard that one of the drummers on the street was later arrested while they were having a coffee in a café. 

A number of the people who have been arrested aren’t being released on bail. The charges have been increased to a $22,000 fine and two years imprisonment for peacefully marching on a street. 

To me, it’s undemocratic and un-Australian; the complete overreach we’re seeing from the police. 

BA activist pushed over by police

David: It’s overkill to me. It seems out of proportion to the disruption that’s being caused. What is a small disruption compared to the destruction of the planet and everything we love on this Earth? The future of my grandchildren for instance, is really at risk. I’ve been trying for 30 years to get change through all the normal accepted ways; writing to politicians, writing to the papers, speaking at conferences. Like Tim Flannery, I believe I have failed spectacularly to achieve any change. What have we got to do now Kate, to ‘arc up’?

Kate: David, that’s why groups like Blockade Australia are taking actions that people say are ‘disproportionate’ and ‘unnecessary’. The protests haven’t been enough. But we know this is a climate emergency. We need to act now. Inaction, and the climate disruption will be a much bigger disruption than what we’re seeing on the streets right now. 

BA activist pushed into police car

David: So what can individuals, people watching this little video - what can they do?

Kate: I think there’s two things that every individual needs to do right now. The first one is to support the climate activists that are out there, taking risks, being vulnerable and demanding action right now. And we need to ensure the democratic rights for these legitimate protests

David: Non-violent…

Kate: Non-violent, direct action – we need to ensure that democratic right. Publicly supporting the climate activists right now, I think is very important. And secondly – everyone needs to take action. There are beautiful organisations like Extinction Rebellion that advocate for non-violent direct action. They’re in every town around Australia. 

David: What’s that group in Melbourne?

Kate: Just Stop It 

David: Yes, Just Stop It 

Kate: So, get active. This is the time that every individual needs to choose which side of history they’re going to be on. 

David: This really is a deadly serious matter. We are facing an existential threat to life on Earth -  ALL life on Earth. Humans included. So please, listen to Kate and get active. Join these organisations. Get out on the Street with Blockade Australia and show that you really care about the future.

Activists with 'Business as Usual = Death' banner

David says

“Australia, wake up, we need a shake up. The police state that we have seen elsewhere in the world is right here now. This week in Sydney we saw people being arrested for simply walking on a footpath, having a coffee in a cafe, and getting on a bus. Seriously this is not Russia, it was in Sydney this week. If you do not stand up and object now where will it end? “

*David Hood is the Inaugural BZE Fellow at Beyond Zero Emissions, QLD Councillor at The Australian Conservation Foundation and Adjunct Professor at The University of Queensland* 

Also see:

Blockade Australia Legal Fund

Penalties for illegal strikes to increase ahead of NSW strikesThe Mandarin, 23 June 2022

NSW Police Emboldened by Anti-Protest Regime, As Blockade Australia Takes the StreetsSydney Criminal Lawyers, 29 June2022

‘Draconian and undemocratic’: why criminalising climate protesters in Australia doesn’t actually work The Conversation, 30 June 2022

Climate activists willing to risk fines and jail terms in NSW under tough, new anti-protest lawsABC News, 28 June 2022

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