Climate activists from Blockade Australia are planning a week of protests in Sydney next week, and the group has urged people to join in.
Blockade Australia spokeswoman Zelda Grimshaw said it was “absurd police overreach” and paraphrased Martin Luther King when explaining why the action is necessary.
“When climate destruction becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” she said.
“It feels a bit like when you’re running towards a burning building to save your children and the police tackle you to the ground and then charge you with assaulting police. But that burning building is our planet.”
Police have pledged to target the activists who take part in “unauthorised protests” across Sydney.
They say a “highly visible police operation” will commence on Monday to prevent the protests and “limit the impact on the broader community”.
“It is clear from our investigations so far that this group remains intent on causing significant disruptions next week to motorists and members of the public through reckless and dangerous activities,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan said.
“It is incredibly disappointing that they want to cause this inconvenience to good people who are just going about their business, especially given the hard times many have gone through in recent years due to the pandemic.”
Grimshaw said the public should support the campaign to force stronger action on climate change.
“All of us have a role to play in preventing further climate destruction,” she said. “Don’t be that person stuck in that car. Be that person standing with us to prevent climate destruction.”
Grimshaw said she is expecting a large turnout and hopes up to 10,000 people join the protests.
“To the NSW police who are watching today … I would say, mate, size and slugs don’t follow orders. And I suggest you don’t either. We want you to break ranks. We want you to come and stand with us. It’s your planet to go and do something that’ll make your grandchildren proud.”
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Paul Toole said anyone participating in these protests has no respect for their fellow citizens.
“This isn’t peaceful protesting. These are people pulling stunts that put lives at risk and stop people trying to get work and get their kids to school and police simply won’t tolerate it,” Toole said.