2 August 2019 – Herald Sun Article Release

Sep 12, 2019 | Media

Climate change activists are planning a four-day blockade to shut down a major mining conference in Melbourne in October.

The group is promising an “S11-style protest’’ around the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre which is hosting the International Mining and Resources Conference.

Organisers say they wants to challenge industries they say are responsible for climate destruction. It describes mining companies and governments as “environmental vandals and climate criminals”.

The Shut Down IMARC Alliance will bring together environmentalists, students, unionists and other activists for the blockade. The Extinction Rebellion group is also involved.

In September 2000, up to 10,000 people took part in S11 demonstrations that dogged the World Economic Forum at Crown casino.

Alliance co-founder Sarah Garnham said the protest would be like “S11 but for climate’’.

‘With the environment melting down, we need mass civil disobedience,’’ Ms Garnham said.

“The aim is to shut down the conference because we believe there’s a new moment to take on those responsible for climate change,’’ Ms Garnham said.

“The companies attending this conference are the mining corporations who are the biggest climate vandals who are conspiring to warm the planet.

“It’s urgent that we act.’’

Victoria Police said it was aware of a number of groups planning to attend the MCEC in October.

“Victoria Police respects the right of all persons to protest peacefully however will act if any laws are broken,’’ a spokesman said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and appropriate resources will be deployed.”

More than 7000 delegates from more than 100 countries are expected to attend the conference and expo from October 28 to 31.

Keynote speakers include Victorian Resources Minister Jaclyn Symes, New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro and executives from global mining corporations including BHP, Rio Tinto and Glencore.

Blockade spokeswoman Maz Heart also condemned the Andrews government for supporting the conference.

“There is an environmental catastrophe taking place,’’ she said.

“Yet neither Labor nor Liberal will distance themselves from coal or the mining industry. It’s up to ordinary people to take a stand.’’