While Canberrans were enjoying Floriade on the Monday public holiday, more than 500 protesters held a ‘die-in’ across the Commonwealth Avenue bridge to signify the death of thousands of species.
Organised by the ACT chapter of a global movement called Extinction Rebellion, the protest involved a peaceful walk from Albert Hall across the Commonwealth Avenue bridge.
More than 500 protesters then rallied beside the lake between the National Capital Exhibition and Commonwealth Avenue to the sounds of loud voices, bagpipes and live music performers on the pink Soul Defender truck.
ACT Police closed off the bridge to traffic from 11:00 am for about one hour.
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Extinction Rebellion is a global movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to rein in human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss.
The ACT group joined fellow protesters around the world in an international rebellion to decry what they say is “the criminal inaction of our federal government regarding the climate emergency”.
The protest involved people of all ages and backgrounds and was led by a group called the Red Rebels, who represented the blood of the children who will die as a result of climate inaction.
Extinction Rebellion ACT spokesperson Pete O’Rourke said the protest was organised to bring attention to the climate crisis that threatens the flowers and the nature of those enjoying events such as Floriade.
“Thousands of species are dying under our watch. Our planet will soon be unrecognisable. The human race is hurtling towards extinction,” said Mr O’Rourke.
“Australians have everything to lose from continued inaction. But politicians continue to ignore our safety, in favour of the interests of big business and their own short-term political gain.
“Today we’re telling them, enough is enough. Tell the truth. Act now. It’s time to step up and show leadership.”
Mr O’Rourke said traditional forms of protest are not being heard by governments, so the group is aiming to create a citizen’s assembly that acts on climate issues.
“The latest IPCC report has shown that the situation we are facing is even more dire than previously thought.
“Sea levels are rising more than twice as fast as they were last century. With more frequent and extreme weather events already disrupting the life we know and love in Australia, it is clear that our government is failing to protect us and our children from the climate emergency.”
Extinction Rebellion ACT says its next protest will occur on 11 October, with a bike ride starting at 7:45 am from Ainslie Football Club, down Northbourne Avenue to London Circuit. Another ‘die-in’ is planned at an undisclosed location.