Climate change activists have staged operations at three coal ports and in the centre of Melbourne, chaining themselves to equipment and calling on industry to “connect the dots” in the fight against global warming.
Police said three people who locked themselves onto a coal-loading conveyor belt at the Port of Newcastle were arrested, while activists said two others who scaled coal-loading equipment at Port Kembla near Wollongong, were also taken into custody.
Protesters at the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) premises in Newcastle stopped operations by locking themselves to the facility at Koorangang north of the CBD.
Police sent rescue teams and the Bomb Disposal Unit, unchaining the protesters at about 8:00am.
In Port Kembla, the protest and accompanying police operation caused truck traffic to build up around the port.
One of the protesters was pictured swinging from a coal loader.
Protest group Front Line Action on Coal said the two activists involved had been taken into custody.
In Brisbane, a small group of protesters tied themselves to trees opposite a railway station to stop coal trains travelling to the Port of Brisbane, with a spokesperson for Queensland Rail saying one freight train was waiting to get through.
With the United Nations climate conference underway in Paris, Newcastle protester Vanessa Weibford said communities were demanding more action.
“We’re doing this because we live with the immediate threat of having coal on our doorstep,” she said.
“Our temperatures are soaring and we’re burning the planet, despite global efforts to push back the worst threats of climate change, while in Paris our government continues to ignore the science.”
Rada Germanos from the group Front Line Action on Coal said the loading of a Taiwanese bulk carrier at Port Kembla had been halted by protesters.
“We are standing inside the port and there are coal trucks backed up as far as the eye can see,” Ms Germanos said.
NCIG chief executive Aaron Johansen said the prime concern was safety.
“The safety of protestors, of emergency services and of our own NCIG employees.”