Sydney’s CBD is in chaos this morning after dozens of Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked some of the city’s busiest streets.
Protesters chained themselves to poles and glued their hands to infrastructure outside the APA Group office near Town Hall this morning.
The protest was calling for APA Group, Australia’s largest gas company, to back out of building the Western Slopes pipeline, which will contribute to the Narrabri gas project.
A NSW Police spokesman said the protest was “unauthorised” and a large number of police were called to the scene to get things under control.
At 8.40am, protesters were blocking the road at the corner of George and Bathurst St, with at least one woman gluing her hands to the road.
However police were able to free the woman just after 9am and move the protesters onto the corner of Bathurst and George St.
Police have arrested a “number of people” but did not have an exact number on how many protesters had been taken to Day St Police Station.
A NSW Police spokesman said that the protesters were no longer affecting vehicle or pedestrian traffic and the crowd was “being monitored by police”.
Footage taken by 9 News showed the horrifying moment a Sydney driver furiously tried to break through the protesters.
The driver, in a silver SUV, sped through the banners blocking Druitt St in the CBD, taking a witches hat with them, before protesters on foot stood in the middle of the road and stopped the car from going further.
The driver stopped in front of the protesters with his passenger pointing her finger at the group.
The driver then reversed away from the protesters before accelerating towards the group again, causing people to scream out in fear.
The driver slammed on his brakes just metres from the protester before he reversed again, attempting to drive down the footpath before circling back and away from the protesters.
Extinction Rebellion protesters could be heard chanting “don’t dig it, leave it in the ground it’s time to get with it” as police swarmed the area.
“So many police have been brought down today, there’s maybe one police officer to one protester,” an Extinction Rebellion protester said in a live video.
Protesters also staged a “die-in”, where they “die” on the ground and lie there.
Extinction Rebellion has become a global movement with protesters focusing on civil disruption to raise awareness on the effects of climate change.
“Extinction Rebellion Sydney is focused on taking immediate, attention-grabbing, radical climate action,” the group’s Sydney branch describes itself.
“We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the government has failed us and civil disobedience is the only way forward.”