A protester who allegedly set fire to a pram outside Parliament House said the federal government was failing future generations due to its inaction on climate change, before being told by a magistrate she would remain behind bars until her next court appearance.
On Tuesday (10 August), Extinction Rebellion took its string of recent protests to Parliament House, with members of the non-violent civil disobedience movement allegedly gluing their hands to the ground, graffitiing buildings and setting a child’s pram on fire.
“I would love nothing more than to be a mother – but I can’t in all conscience bring a child into the world to face hell on earth,” Deanna Marie ‘Violet’ Coco, 30, said during the protest.
“The government, beholden to the fossil fuel lobby, has burnt my dreams.
“It’s madness that the politicians in this place don’t grasp that their children are no safer than anyone else’s.”
Ms Coco was among several protesters arrested on the day, along with 22-year-old Eric Serge Herbert. They faced the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (11 August).
The prosecutor told the court Ms Coco had allegedly glued her hand to the Parliament House forecourt and lit the pram on fire but did not oppose bail.
However, Ms Coco did not apply for bail, saying she was acting on a climate emergency.
She demanded the court release her so she could continue what she said was her moral duty to rebel against a government that was “failing our future generations”.
She said government inaction on climate change was committing millions of people to death. She asked for her charge of causing property damage to be dropped.
But Magistrate James Stewart did not dismiss the charge and said as there was no application for bail he refused it, remanding Ms Coco in custody until her next court date of 25 August.
Mr Herbert also asked for his charges of causing property damage and trespass to be dismissed, but Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said she could not do that and interrupted him when he tried to make a speech.
“I’m going to stop you. I’m going to turn you off if you’re going to go off on a tangent,” she said to him as he appeared in the courtroom over an audio-visual link.
She then asked him if he wanted to apply for bail or not multiple times, but he stayed silent and would not respond.
The prosecutor said bail was opposed based on the likelihood of reoffending. Magistrate Walker took his silence to mean he was refusing to engage with the court. She remanded him in custody until 24 August for him to enter a plea.
“Thank you, your honour. It’s been a pleasure,” Mr Herbert said before he was led away.
The protest came after the release of the landmark United Nations report which warned of the dire consequences facing Australia from climate change.