Protester warns: ‘This is one you can’t ignore’

THEY'VE glued themselves to city streets and locked themselves inside canoes on bridges, but protesters have warned tomorrow's 'Rebellion Day' will be one no-one can ignore.

Tom Howell from the group Extinction Rebellion's South East Queensland chapter also dismissed Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner's claim today that the protesters will be "holding the people of Brisbane to ransom."

"It's the people of Brisbane that are joining in to do this," Mr Howell said.

He said nurses, lawyers, aircraft engineers, professors and scientists would be among the protesters who swarm the city for 'Rebellion Day' to demand action on climate change.

Tom Howell from Extinction Rebellion.
Tom Howell from Extinction Rebellion.

"Often the media focus on the ratbag hippies that are doing it, and often we're the ones that have to do it first to show that people are willing to do it... but it's a really diverse group of people," he said.

Mr Howell said Brisbane should expect severe delays on the roads tomorrow, not just in the city's centre.

Environmental activist Eric Herbert is arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest in the central business district of Brisbane, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Environmental activist Eric Herbert is arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest in the central business district of Brisbane, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

"If the thousands of people travelling into the CBD on any given morning can't get into the CBD, those cars and buses are going to block the entrances into the city," he said.

"I think most Brisbane commuters know it doesn't take a lot to cause severe traffic delays in the morning. Even blocking a few streets for a very short period of time will make it a very bad morning for the commute. And of course, we take no pleasure in delaying people. We have advertised this. We're hoping people catch a train or ride a bike to work if they have to go to work, or just come join us."

He said there would be arrests, although if people intend on joining the protest, they should expect a welcoming and safe space.

Extinction Rebellion South East Queensland protesters outside the city watchhouse last month including Tom Howell (centre).
Extinction Rebellion South East Queensland protesters outside the city watchhouse last month including Tom Howell (centre).

"It's going to be peaceful and non-violent the whole day, and there's going to be lots of art and music," he said.

"There'll obviously be disruptions and civil disobedience and non-compliance, which will involve people taking to the streets where they're not permitted to be and standing their ground. The police will either be forced to arrest people in large numbers, or let people have their right to peaceful protest."

Protesters in a canoe at South Brisbane. Pic Annette Dew
Protesters in a canoe at South Brisbane. Pic Annette Dew

Actions are planned throughout the city, although a lot of activity will be centralised around State Parliament and William St in the city.

"That's where we're likely to get around 1000 people," he said.

Protesters on the Victoria Bridge in June. Pic Annette Dew
Protesters on the Victoria Bridge in June. Pic Annette Dew

"There'll definitely be some very artistic ways that the roads are being blocked. In some areas, that will look like lots of people dressed up, and in other areas, that will be art pieces," Mr Howell said.

"There are a variety of tactics people are planning on using. We've been training people for months now in disruptive practices and non-violent civil disobedience so people can go away and think about how they want to take that action."

Mr Howell said the protests were needed to draw attention to the disruptions that would come from the impacts of climate change.

"Some reports say Brisbane in 2050 will be out of water, and we're going to be facing summers that go for weeks over 40 degrees," he said.

"That will be a lot more disruptive to our way of life than being late for work or not being able to get to work for one day. The message we want to send is let's act now so we don't have to face that kind of future."

International television crews are in Brisbane for tomorrow's protest, while buses full of pensioners are travelling to Brisbane from Bundaberg.

Supporters are also flooding in from northern New South Wales, the Sunshine Coast, Sydney and Melbourne.

"There's going to be families there, there's going to be pensioners there. The youngest person who's been arrested in Queensland from Extinction Rebellion was 17 and the oldest was 74," Mr Howell said.

He added tomorrow's protest would be unlike other actions that have already shut down Brisbane's CBD this year.

"This is one you can't ignore."