An Extinction Rebellion activist was arrested after scaling the Melbourne Arts Centre spire in the early hours of Friday morning, unfurling a banner reading ‘Occupy for Climate’.
A small group of activists also staged a protest on the lawn adjacent to the spire, setting up a makeshift tent city, representing the displacement caused by global heating.
Extinction Rebellion Victoria is gearing up for its latest campaign of sustained action, which is set to take place in late May.
The campaign, Occupy for Climate, is in the form of a conditional commitment. The climate activists are calling for a thousand people to sign up to occupy a Melbourne CBD location over May 25, 26 and 27 and have coordinated a series of promotional actions in order to drum up support. The three day occupation period will be combined with disruptive actions.
“Scientists warn we are heading for societal collapse”, the Occupy for Climate web page says; “but still our government is failing to take even basic steps like banning new coal and gas and halting native forest logging.”
“Civil resistance is our last and best chance. We are building a movement powerful enough to win.”
Occupy for Climate has already been endorsed by numerous groups and prominent individuals. These include School Strike 4 Climate, Blockade Australia and socialist groups Solidarity and Socialist Alliance.
Independent Senator (and DjabWurrung, Gunnai and Gunditjmara woman) Lidia Thorpe and Victorian Greens state MP Gabrielle de Vietri have also endorsed the campaign.
In a statement, the climber Brad Homewood said “every day we get more grim news on the climate and ecological emergency. We are in the climate endgame and what each of us does matters.”
“We have a government that’s failing to pluck even the lowest of low-hanging fruit. No new coal. No new gas. No more logging of native forests.”
“People ask us why we do what we do. My question to them is, are we doing enough? We need everyone to step up and face the scientific truth; the climate emergency is here now and there’s no more time for half measures.”