A protester suspended from Brisbane’s Story Bridge says climate change caused a recent Queensland bushfire that destroyed the forest where his wife’s ashes were scattered.
The Extinction Rebellion activist called on governments to address climate change and live-streaming his plea over the internet sitting in a hammock suspended from the bridge over the Brisbane River.
— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) October 7, 2019
Last month’s fire at Binna Burra in the Gold Coast hinterland, which destroyed 11 homes, had robbed his daughters of an ongoing connection to their mother, the protester named only as ‘Paul’ claimed.
“For me that was a bit of a personal catastrophe because the ashes of my wife were scattered there – the mother of my children,” he said.
Paul said his daughters visited the forest every year to pay their respects to their mum, but that they didn’t get the chance this year.
“Unfortunately, the rainforest burned before they got there, so they don’t have that connection there any more.
“I’m up here for my daughters. There’s a climate emergency and our government hasn’t taken sufficient action.”
Paul said he is “perfectly safe” hanging from the Story Bridge and “more than happy just to hang out here” until Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk addressed his demand to declare a climate emergency.
The man is, who is part of a series of climate protests targeting major Australian cities in a week-long campaign, warned police not to try to remove him.
“The way I’ve rigged it up is that it would actually be dangerous for the police to come and rescue me,” Paul said.
Police have indicated they are prepared to wait.
Elsewhere in Brisbane, nine people were arrested on Tuesday morning after around 200 protesters block major intersections in the CBD.
One group locked themselves to barrels filled with concrete, while others blocked a road with a trailer.
The first day of Extinction Rebellion protests on Monday saw 38 arrests in Sydney and 10 in Melbourne.
Despite the rain, protesters in Melbourne on Tuesday converged at the intersection of Collins and Spring Streets in the CBD, dancing on the tram tracks and blocking traffic.
Queensland Police were also at the scene.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said defended their right to protest.
But “I don’t know that shutting the city down necessarily wins you many friends”, he added.
In Sydney, protesters dressed as bees “swarmed” Sydney’s Hyde Park to demand “our leaders take strong action on climate change so that we have a future in farming in this country”.
Peter Matthison – a bee-keeper and avocado farmer from the NSW mid-north coast – said he had no option but to take action.
Organisers said he was later arrested alongside a handful of other protesters.
The Extinction Rebellion is running a “Spring rebellion” to pressure Australian governments into declaring a “climate emergency”.