Police are seen arresting an Extinction Rebellion protester after activists blocked the corner of Margaret and William Streets in Brisbane on Tuesday. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Police are seen arresting an Extinction Rebellion protester after activists blocked the corner of Margaret and William Streets in Brisbane on Tuesday. Picture: AAP/Darren England

72 arrested as disruptive ‘ratbags’ return to CBD

IT was no laughing matter for Brisbane city workers, but Greens politicians Larissa Waters and Jonathan Sri found something to chuckle about during yet another disruptive protest on Tuesday.

More than 70 people were arrested and Extinction Rebellion's climate change protest even forced the Red Cross to move its mobile donor unit at a time when O-negative supplies are at critical levels.

About 300 protesters marched through the CBD from 7am, temporarily blocking major thoroughfares on Margaret and William streets.

Twice the group staged a "sit-in", blocking hundreds of motorists on their morning commute, forcing police to drag dozens of men and women from the roadway and on to the kerb before arresting them.

Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri and Greens Senator Larissa Waters at the protest. Picture: Liam Kidston
Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri and Greens Senator Larissa Waters at the protest. Picture: Liam Kidston

One protester - former Greens council candidate Ben Pennings - also interrupted Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner's press conference and was arrested.

Greens Queensland Senator Larissa Waters attended the protest wearing "Stop Adani" earrings alongside Brisbane Greens councillor Jonathan Sri and proclaimed politicians were there to "represent the people" - not coal companies.

But many Queenslanders expressed anger at protesters' repeated illegal actions, bringing the CBD to a standstill.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington said she understood everyone had a right to protest but called Extinction Rebellion a pack of "ratbags."

"What these people are doing is they're upsetting thousands of Queenslanders who are trying to get to hospital appointments, trying to get to work and drop their kids at school. It's ridiculous," she said.

"We should be throwing the full force of the law at these people … they're shutting down the streets in inner city Brisbane. They're bringing the city to a halt and it's not good enough."

 

 

 

The Queensland Red Cross currently only has two days' supply of O-Negative, and was forced to move a mobile station from the State Parliament precinct because of the protesters.

A spokeswoman said "for the safety" of donors, they relocated the donor unit to their other regular site at Milton.

The move inconvenienced city workers and potential blood donors.

The protesters arrested face charges including contravening direction, obstructing traffic, obstructing police and breaching the peace.

A QPS spokesman said of the 72 protestors arrested, a number had been released on bail, but a number will remain in the watch house overnight after refusing to sign bail documents.

Those held overnight will face court tomorrow.