A driver has ploughed through a climate change demonstration in the middle of Sydney’s streets, almost running over protesters.
Extraordinary footage captured the chaotic moment the group of protesters were almost hit by a passing vehicle in the middle of an intersection.
Traffic had come to a standstill in the middle of the city as members of the Blockade Australia activist group marched.
But one driver appeared to neglect the demonstration as they drove past the protesters and almost hit two carrying a white banner.
The activists appeared to chase the vehicle as it drove through the intersection.
A driver has driven through a climate change demonstration taking place in the middle of Sydney
It comes after a protester sparked commuter chaos after locking herself to her steering wheel with a bike lock while blocking the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, leaving workers trapped bumper-to-bumper in their vehicles.
Dozens of demonstrators stormed the city at 8am on Monday, after vowing to create a week of misery for commuters by disrupting traffic with police frantically tried to stop the protest with barricade fences.
A woman from the group’s Lismore contingent proudly posted footage online of herself chained to her steering wheel by the neck while her white hatchback blocked traffic from entering the Harbour Tunnel.
The tunnel is one of the major thoroughfares taking commuters across the city’s harbour, and is used by up to 2,000 cars every hour.
‘I’m Mali, I’m 22. I’m [here] in protest of the climate destruction that is happening in this continent right now,’ she says.
‘There are some really angry people who are screaming and threatening me – banging on windows and doors.’
The protester, Mail, 22, (pictured) blocked the Sydney Harbour Tunnel and locked herself to her steering wheel with a bike lock before proudly posting the footage online
The woman’s white hatchback was parked sideways over two lanes of traffic – causing chaos for the thousands of people who use the tunnel every hour
An outraged commuter can be seen during the video approaching her car and yelling at her through a window.
‘Guess what f** wit? You’re going to jail!’ he screams.
‘They are going to love you in there!’
Police eventually arrived at the scene and demanded she get out of the car, before she was arrested.
It comes as :
- Around 60 protesters raged through the city, hurling debris and even wheelie bins at police officers in a bid to slow them down
- NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet described the demonstrators as ‘bloody idiots’ in a scathing statement
- TV vision appeared to show an SUV nudging people standing in the middle of the road out of the way. It wasn’t immediately clear if they were protesters
All traffic had been diverted via the Harbour Bridge and traffic was backed up for several kilometres.
The tunnel was reopened after the car was removed, the Transport Management Centre said at 9.12am.
NSW Police said 11 people, including the woman taken into custody at the tunnel’s entrance, had been arrested in the wake of the ‘unauthorised protests’.
The ten protesters who were arrested in the CBD were taken to Surry Hills and Day Street Police Stations, where charges are expected.
In a statement, the radical group said their week-long protest activities had ‘begun’ with ‘its Sydney mobilization to resist climate destruction’.
Police officers surrounded the white hatchback as blocked traffic backed up for several kilometres
The woman was eventually arrested by several officers and the tunnel reopened around 9am
A police officer was seen in a stand-off with a protester as the activist attempted to move a barricade
A man picked up a barricade fence and ran away as protests choked traffic in the CBD on Monday
‘Sydney is where Australia’s operation began, and for more than two centuries, it has been where Australia’s destruction of this continent has been most intense,’ a spokesperson for the group said.
‘The institutions of Australia are concentrations of coercive power that enable this exploitation. Our collective survival rests on organised opposition and the use of strategic direct action to stand against this project of destruction.
‘Blockade Australia will continue to cause disruption and resist climate destruction in the days to come.’
Meanwhile, furious Australians have flocked online to slam the group for interrupting society with ‘dangerous’ antics.’
‘These Blockade idiots need to think better,’ one person tweeted.
‘Even though many support Climate Change, still most of Australia is against these fools. Ban their public welfare if the want to put lives in danger blocking traffic and transport.’
‘I’m sorry but #BlockadeAustralia is 10yrs too late & giving climate change activism a bad name,’ another said.
Another man pointed out the protests meant people were spending longer in their cars with the heaters using petrol on due to the road blockage, which ironically was bad for the environment.
‘It’s all well and good to protest but to harass the broader community is just selfish,’ a fourth wrote.
Dozens descended on Sydney’s centre, carrying signs and chanting as they demanded action for climate change
Protesters hold a sign outside the Sydney Harbour Tunnel as a car blocks off traffic
As commuters began heading into the city for work, throngs of protesters descended on Elizabeth Street before marching around Hyde Park towards NSW Parliament.
The crowd, of around 60 people, was forced to disperse when it was blocked by police at the intersection of George and Bridge streets, blocking access to the Harbour Bridge.
Blockade Australia said it would hold a press conference at 2.30pm at Redfern Park.
The group had made plans to ‘run or disperse’ through the city in a message sent out via an app on Sunday night, with leaders distributing legal advice to members ahead of the protest.
The organisers also gave instructions for how activists can wreak havoc on traffic in the CBD.
‘This won’t be like a regular rally with speeches and a lot of time standing around – we will be meeting at 8am sharp and then moving quickly from there,’ the memo read.
A police officer picks up milk crates left on the street as demonstrators were seen throwing bins and objects into the path of police to slow them down
Climate activist group Blockade Australia are set to launch a week of mass demonstrations from Monday
‘Depending on police tactics you may be required to run or disperse depending on your abilities. Be prepared to walk on roads and stop cars from passing.’
Protesters were urged to keep their phone notifications turned off and ensure devices were password protected.
The advice also told demonstrators to only say ‘no comment’ if arrested and warned against wearing ‘contact lenses, makeup or oily sunscreen’ to reduce injury if pepper sprayed.
The event had been publicised over the group’s online channels for weeks, with participants offered workshops for ‘legal’, ‘street welfare’, and ‘medic’ training.
Protesters were given legal advice in a message distributed via a messaging app on Sunday night
Police seized concrete barrels and locks from the protest group’s Colo campground on June 19
In marketing material for the June 27- July 2 rally, the group said they intend to converge’ on Sydney to ‘blockade the streets of Australia’s most important political and economic centre and cause disruption that cannot be ignored’.
The protest comes just days after police raided their Blue Mountains compound on June 19 amid an investigation into ‘unauthorised protest activity’.
Blockade Australia has made headlines in recent months over a series of high-profile climate protests which have included blocking coal ports, bridges, and fossil fuel terminals.
In April, NSW Parliament ushered in a raft of new laws and penalties aimed at discouraging protesters who disrupt traffic on bridges and tunnels in response to the group’s stunts.
Protesters face a maximum penalty of two years’ jail and $22,000 fines for disrupting traffic or preventing access on roads.
The legislation also created new offences targeting people blocking access to major facilities such as ports and railways.
EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT THE PROTESTS THAT HAVE ROCKED SYDNEY
- Blockade Australia protesters swarmed to Hyde Park, in Sydney’s CBD, about 8am on Monday
- The group marched north through several streets, disrupting traffic, before they dispersed at the intersection of George and Bridge Streets after being blocked by police
- Meanwhile, an activist from the Lismore contingent blocked the Sydney Harbour Tunnel in North Sydney around 8.30am
- She shared a livestreamed video on Facebook from her white hatchback, which showed her chained to the steering wheel
- An angry commuter could be screaming at her outside the car’s window as the stunt caused vehicles to back up several kilometres
- Police arrived at the scene a short time later and arrested the woman. The car was removed and the tunnel reopened about 9.12am
- Blockade Australia released a statement announcing the demonstration was the first of many planned for their week-long ‘resistance of climate destruction
- The group said it would hold a press conference at 2.30pm in Redfern
- NSW Police have announced 11 people were arrested during the ‘unauthorised protests’