A climate change activist known as the ‘Burning Pram Lady’ will continue to push for government action on global warming, despite recently spending 16 days behind bars.
On 10 August, Extinction Rebellion protested at Parliament House, with members of the non-violent civil disobedience movement gluing their hands to the ground, graffitiing buildings and setting a pram on fire.
Deanna Marie ‘Violet’ Coco was arrested over the pram incident which left scorch marks on the ground and spray paint on the building.
The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to charges of damaging Commonwealth property, as well as unreasonable obstruction from an incident on 4 August.
On Thursday (2 September), prosecutor Zoe Hough told the ACT Magistrates Court that Coco spent 16 days in custody as a result of her not applying for bail, rather than bail being refused.
Coco tried to tell the court the proceedings were about a “much more complex issue” but was shut down by Magistrate Robert Cook.
“I’m not here to receive any political statements,” he said.
However, he said he understood her passionate approach was moved deeply by those things for which she had a genuine concern.
Coco said her intention was only to damage her own property and she pointed out she had set the pram on fire near a pond.
But Magistrate Cook said her actions meant someone had to clean up what was left behind using chemicals, which he thought she would have been against using.
She ultimately asked for a non-conviction.
“The Australian people and community are really behind the action and I feel we really speak for them and it was the right thing to do,” she said.
The court also heard Coco worked full-time and unpaid in community-based organisations and was not on welfare.
But Magistrate Cook convicted her and sentenced her to six months of good behaviour obligations. If she breaches them, she faces fines that total $400.
Several of Coco’s co-accused have already had their matters finalised, Ms Hough said.
Four were fined $20, three received non-convictions and one entered a not guilty plea and will next appear in court in November.
In a media release on Thursday, Extinction Rebellion called Coco the movement’s ‘Burning Pram Lady’.
“I set fire to the pram to force the government to look directly in the eyes of the generation of children whose futures are being burned up due to their failure to protect them from the effects of climate breakdown,” Coco said.
Outside the court, she told journalists the current trajectory of global warming would result in billions of deaths, starvation and a lack of water supply.
She said she intended to be of good behaviour, which she believed included continuing actions of civil disobedience.