XR SA actions target fossil fuel partnerships with government

XR SA actions target fossil fuel partnerships with government

Extinction Rebellion Australia, 17 Oct 2022

Wave 1 of Extinction Rebellion South Australia's campaign to End Fossil Fuels Now began with a Blockade of the Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition

Over one hundred rebels blocked the entry to the Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference (APOGCE) on Day One of the conference to send a message: the fossil fuel industry is not welcome.

APOGCE 2022 is the regional flagship event for the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Despite declaring a climate emergency, the South Australian Government is a principal partner for the event.

Woodside, Chevron, Shell, Santos, Beach Energy and the many other fossil fuel companies involved in this event are not welcome. Rebels converged on both entrances of Adelaide Convention Centre to make this point. They were greeted by well over 50 police officers - a clear indication that despite declaring a climate emergency, the State is prepared to spend big on policing to defend the interests of the fossil fuel industry.

As Tom Koutsantonis and Madeleine King welcomed these climate criminals to Adelaide, rebels converged on the western entrance of the Convention Centre and lined up against a wall of police. Community support worker Mai attempted to enter the Convention Centre but was dragged away by police.

Retired psychologist Marc and retired school teacher Anna glued their hands to the pavement in front of the western entrance, partly blocking access to the building.

Other rebels sat down in front of police officers blocking the building entrance. Grandmothers Trish and Cate were arrested and charged with loitering after refusing to move.

Protester being arrested

The loud protest continued for over three hours, and was heard throughout the keynote address. Rebels returned after a break to play speeches from David Attenborough, Antonio Guterres and others - strong reminders of what is at stake.

The message from protesters was loud and clear and was reported on all major news networks. Shamefully, South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas defended Santos and Carbon Capture and Storage while Minister for Energy and Mining, Tom Koutsantonis mocked the use of glue by activists. They still haven’t got the message!

Protester banging drum outside the conference

The disruption raged on into Day Two of the Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference

The police brought their horses, barricades and numbers as rebels used their bodies, fake oil, smoke emitters and even conference tickets to ruin the day of the fossil fools.

Action kicked off from 7:30 am as rebels marched to the western entrance of the Convention Centre. As national media cut live to the action, rebels released smoke emitters and climbed barricades.

Rebels Ian and Louis climbed police barricade with Louis reaching for the door. Louis was arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour while Ian had their name taken by police.

Later that morning, dressed in business attire, rebel Cathy attempted to enter the conference using an exhibition ticket. After they were refused entry they sat down blocking the entrance until the police dragged them away. Cathy was arrested and charged with failing to cease loitering.

To the great displeasure of attendees the noise continued as rebels moved between the western and eastern entrances. After 3.5 hours on their feet rebels took a well deserved break.

'Oilies' on a tram

The magnificent Oilies, dressed in black costumes representing the death fuel that is oil, boarded the tram from the Botanic Gardens to the Convention Centre. Upon arrival they slithered to the western entrance.

From behind the Oilies rebel Kyle staunchly emerged to dump multiple buckets of fake oil across the entrance. Kyle was taken by police and asked to leave the area. After taking action they said:

I did this because I care for our future generations. I want an equitable future for everyone.

Day Three of the Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference

On day three, rebels (Robyn, Peter, Claire, Mel and Mai) were arrested as fake oil and blood was spilt over barricades for the final day of APOGCE22.

Rebels again gathered at 7:30am by the Adelaide Oval footbridge. From there they marched up to the eastern entrance of the Convention Centre with more noise, chants and speeches. They were met with, yet again, a wall of police including several on horseback.

The disruption kicked off when rebels returned to the western entrance and a group began pushing the barricade sealing off the entrance.

Both Robyn and Peter were dragged away by police after sitting down in front of the barricade. They were both arrested and charged with failure to cease loitering.

After being dragged away Robyn stated that they took action:

Because we’ve got to do something now and I want to stand up and be counted. I’ve got grandchildren. I’ve got children and I want them to have a future.

As they were escorted away Peter said:

I’m doing this as a desperate last resort to try and get some effective action to stop the climate criminals in there wrecking our planet.

After the arrests rebels took a brief break before marching down to the Convention Centre Loading Bay where they were pushed back by security and police.

Together rebels then moved to Light Square and joined arrestees from the previous days who were not permitted to return to the Convention Centre. Everyone enjoyed a lunch break as they listened to local punk rock band, Dead Head Chemistry, play live. Fantastic!

Everyone returned to the eastern entrance in the early afternoon to welcome the return of the Oilies. Again, they had travelled on the tram to the Convention Centre. This time they walked past the Adelaide Railway Station.

At the eastern entrance police had extended their barricade all the way from the central to the eastern doors. In response rebels threaded ‘crime scene’ tape through it.

Rebels Claire and Mel then threw fake blood and fake oil over the barricades. Both were arrested and charged with property damage. Mai, who was dressed as an Oily was also arrested. They refused the request of police to move after sitting down in front of a parked paddywagon. Unbelievable!

Protester with flag

After the conference: Rebels disrupted the South Australian Roundtable for Oil and Gas

On Thursday 20 October, rebels Leena, John, Mary, Ea, Indi and Sal disrupted the proceedings of the State Governments roundtable on Oil and Gas. The theme of the roundtable was the future for oil and gas in South Australia. Under a climate and ecological emergency, oil and gas have no future, here or anywhere.

Together they interrupted Minister for Energy and Mining, Tom Koutsantonis' address to the roundtable by locking and gluing themselves to the internal doors of the National Wine Centre.

Leena, John, Mary and Ea were arrested with charges of trespass. Indi and Sal unlocked themselves at the request of police.

Rebels gave powerful testimonies as to why our government cannot continue its hypocrisy to on one hand declare a climate emergency while on the other actively supporting the future of the oil and gas industry.

If we are to have a liveable future for our children, families and global community, we must stop new fossil fuels and transition for the current workforce at an emergency speed. Rebels held the floor and attention of industry and decision makers before attendees were relocated.

While the Minister tried to claim the roundtable was there to talk about hydrogen and other renewables his departments posters in the room and promotion in the lead up talked to 'unlocking the future of unconventional gas'. Completely ignoring the science that cannot have any new fossil fuel projects to keep below 2 degrees of warming.

Thanks to all the rebels who put their bodies on the line and those who stood outside in support.

Watch the livestream here.

What's next?

Next May an even bigger oil and gas conference, the APPEA conference, will be hosted in Adelaide. We aim to send a message that could lead to this event being cancelled.

It has happened before. Knowing the cost of opposition from the peace movement, organisers cancelled a major 2008 defence conference in Adelaide.

We need to leave no doubt in the government's mind about the level of opposition they will face in bringing this event here.

It's time to step up. Ordinary people are building up their climate courage and resisting an industry that is fuelling the climate crisis. We refuse to be bystanders. We refuse to bequeath a dying planet to future generations and if you do too - then join the campaign!

Waves of XR SA's ongoing, disruptive civil disobedience campaign to End Fossil Fuels Now continue into 2023. Find out more about Wave 2 on our Rebellions page.

Get involved

Find in person and online events

Join your friendly Local Group

Connect with our Special Interest Groups

Learn more about Extinction Rebellion