Activist glued to road as anti-coal protest continues
A FEMALE protester has glued herself to the road, while police have been forced to use capsicum spray as chaotic anti-coal protests continue in Melbourne.
Multiple activists have been arrested, while dozens of protesters have gathered outside the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for a third day of planned disruption.
The woman has glued herself to the road at the entry to the carpark, blocking one of the four lanes.
Police are attempting to remove her.
Protesters are making it clear they won't be deterred by yesterday's heavy police presence, chanting "Victoria Police, blood on your hands."
Police made their first arrest about 7.35am, arresting a man.
A woman was arrested at about 9am, following an intense stand off between police.
Police have been forced to use capsicum spray to quell the clashing protest group.
Connor, 20, was caught up in the capsicum spray and said police behaviour was "disgraceful."
"Police are using force against peaceful protesters, it's a f***** disgrace," he said.
"I had my hands up, I'm peaceful.
"It's an absolute disgrace."
Activists have blocked a second entrance to the MCEC, while rogue groups attempted to storm the convention centre.
Heavily armed police were quick to chase, grabbing activists before they could make it to the door.
The second group, at an entrance closest to Normanby Road, have also attempted to take the road.
Officers yelled "move" and formed a barrier line, blocking activists from getting through.
A number of police are now blocking the disability ramp entrance as protesters edge closer.
Police used capsicum spray to stop the advance.
Part of Clarendon Street has been closed as a precaution.
Protesters have broken away and stormed onto Clarendon St in a decoy move, stopping trams and traffic.
Riot police chased the group, pushing them back towards the main entrance before they were joined by some of the larger crowd.
The Herald Sun witnesses many people pushed and shoved by police.
Police horses have now been brought in, moving quickly through the angry group to push them back further.
The group are banging on the outside wall of the centre, yelling "resist, rebel, IMARC can go to hell."
IMARC: 18-yr-old Luka Kiernan (in purple shirt) was pushed to the ground by a police officer.— Brianna Travers (@briannatravers) October 29, 2019
“I was taunting one of the business people and then I got shoulder charged by a police officer and pushed to the ground,” he said. @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/gasaAmmRji
Luka Kiernan, 18, was witnessed being pushed by a police officer.
"I was taunting one of the business people and then I got shoulder charged by a police officer and pushed to the ground," he said.
"It demonstrates police brutality that Victoria Police try and hide.
"I saw one almost break another guy's neck.
Police guarded the entry of the carpark as protesters attempted to cause mayhem for conference attendees who arrived by vehicle.
As attendees rolled in to the convention centre, they were greeted with booing, profanity, middle fingers, "corporate scum" and "corporate criminals" chants.
The demographic of the crowd is mainly young adults aged 18-30 but is peppered with a few older protesters.
Some attendees were seen smiling and laughing when greeted by the protesters, others took photos and videos of the protest group while others put their heads down.
The energy of the protesters has not died down despite going for three hours.
Greens MP Adam Bandt attended the protest.
"We are in the middle of a climate emergency," he said.
"Farming in certain parts of Australia may no longer be viable.
"We've got towns that are being told they might run out of water.
"We now have bushfire emergencies and in the USA on both sides of the globe at the same time.
"This is an emergency. We have got a few short years to get the climate crisis under control.
"What is crystal clear...is coal is not compatible with a safe climate."
Mr Bandt said police had been "heavy handed" in their approach to handling the protest.
Various parties have taken to the microphone to champion the climate change cause, as well as Aboriginal rights and "racism" in Australia.
Cuban flags are being held as well as signs saying "Free West Papua".
Protesters at the main site continue to face off with police and conference attendees.
"This is not a police state," they chant.
Police Minister Lisa Neville commended the actions of police.
She said that while people had a right to protest peacefully, the protesters had sought to "initiate this sort of confrontation".
Ms Neville said they were "deliberately attempting to stop people going about their legal business and their day" and that police "acted absolutely appropriately" in response.
IMARC: Coference attendees are being targeted with abusive chants as they attempt to gain access to the venue. This woman is greeted with the chant: “corporate scum.” @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/v3mGy6a1uq— Brianna Travers (@briannatravers) October 29, 2019
Protesters are linking arms to try and prevent mining conference attendees from getting in the convention centre.
Some are yelling at police saying "this is Australia" and "this is a democracy".
Splinter groups emerge from the main pack to attempt to cause disruption to police management of the group.
There is a significant police presence on scene including the mounted brigade who are all ready to step in.
Police have set up orange barriers to assist with crowd control.
"Resist, rebel, IMARC can go to hell," is one of the chants being used this morning.
Delegates are due to start arriving at 8.30am.
The protest is fluid in nature, with splinter groups moving around and keeping police on their toes.
The chants used are profanity laden.
"Rio Tinto, f*** you," the group chants.
"Too many coppers, not enough justice.
"IMARC, blood on your hands."
Police tactics are a sore point for the group, with many yelling at police about their heavy handed approach to yesterday's protest.
Some have come prepared for capsicum spray being used, wearing face masks.
Four police officers were injured and 47 activists were arrested on Tuesday as the protest descended into chaos.
Victoria Police released a statement saying the offences related to failing to obey police, intentionally obstructing emergency services and intentionally obstructing a footpath.
Two protesters were charged with animal cruelty after they slapped a police horse in the face.
Victoria Police acting Commander Tim Tully said police showed a lot of discretion when faced with the confrontational nature of the protest group and slammed the demonstrators who struck the police horse.
"It is totally unnecessary. I don't know why it is appropriate in any shape or form to slap a member of our mounted branch - a horse."
Four officers were injured as they clashed with the protesters - two were taken to hospital -one with head injuries and another a dislocated finger. Two other officers with head injuries were treated at the scene.
Police are also investigating after a woman allegedly broke her leg during an incident with a police horse. She was taken to hospital.
The arrests come after violent clashes erupted with riot police on the second day of Melbourne's International Mining and Resources Conference.
Victoria police spoke out against today's brutality, saying "any action taken by officers this morning has been in response to the protesters' activity and in accordance with training."
"We have shown a hell of a lot of discretion and a hell of a lot of tolerance," said Cdr Tully.
He said his officer did a tremendous job in dealing with the "confrontational nature" of the protest groups.
He encouraged the public to avoid the area while the IMARC event is on for the next two days.
He said there was a de-escalation of protesters methods in the afternoon and he hoped that would continue for the rest of the week.
About 150 hardcore activists were barring the entry to the mining conference. Police have already used capsicum spray and horses to combat the unruly demonstrators.
This morning's blockade saw activists link arms while blocking the main entrance to the centre.
At around 11am, protesters sprawled onto Clarendon St, momentarily blocking traffic.
Officers pushed the group off the road. One woman was shoved, sending her crashing to the ground.
Protesters shouted "it's all on video" at police.
A police line has now been set up, made up of uniformed officers and the mounted brigade, blocking access to the road.
One lane along Clarendon St has been closed as a precaution.
Earlier, footage shot around 6.30am showed scuffles breaking out as demonstrators faced off with police.
At least one man was placed in a headlock and removed by police, while a man directing the crowd over a loudspeaker was arrested by around six public order response officers.
Another man was arrested, with six officers plucking him from the crowd after he was seen shoving a delegate.
The police used horses to push back the human blockade to create space to take the arrested man away.
A police officer was also seen using his baton, striking a female protester who was holding her hands up.
As officials attempted to enter the conference, protesters shouted "shame" and booed them.
One conference attendee was knocked to the ground during a tense standoff with activists.
The Herald Sun witnessed the man fall backwards onto the ground as protesters and police swarmed.
Capsicum spray was fired into the unruly crowd, with officers yelling at protesters to "get back" as more attendees attempted to enter the conference.
The Herald Sun witnessed one man tackled to the ground and removed by his arms and legs.
Another scuffle broke out to the side, with a female protester pushed into a public bench seat.
At around 9am, the group blockaded two main entrances to the MCEC and was attempting to block Clarendon St.
Protesters grabbed the suitcase of one conferencegoer, running off along the river with officers close behind.
Others continue to swarm those arriving, yelling, "blood on your hands".
An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman confirmed one woman was taken to The Alfred hospital as a result of the chaos.
She could not comment on the nature of the woman's injuries, but unconfirmed reports suggest the woman may have seriously injured or broken her leg.
The Herald Sun saw the woman loaded into an ambulance wearing a neck brace, with a "green whistle" pain reliever in her mouth.
Former Greens MP Lidia Thorpe said she was at the protest to have "respectful conversations" with "mining criminals".
Ms Thorpe said she had asked the police to allow traditional land owners to address the crowd of protesters and ask them to respect the land they were walking on, but the offer was rejected.
She said an address would have calmed tensions at the demonstration.
DEFIANT PROTESTERS CLAIM POLICE BRUTALITY
Despite the chaos, a defiant protester clashed with Sky News hosts on-air, claiming that police started the violence.
Climate activist and childcare worker Jacob Andrewartha told Laura Jayes and Peter Stefanovic the protesters were picketing against "climate criminals".
"What violence are you talking about? Are you talking about the violence from police who have aggressively attacked our protesters who are peacefully protesting," he asked.
"I think the onus is on the police. The police attacked us first. We are peacefully demonstrating.
"This conference is putting together some of the worst climate criminals who are profiting off polluting the earth.
"We peacefully assembled, locked arms and police pushed us.
"The people attending this conference need to be made accountable. We are living in a climate crisis.
Rebecca Hill, a striking worker from RMIT, said she was pushed to the ground by police.
"There were a whole line of police behind us," she said.
"I got shoved in the back. And I was pushed to the ground. My back is still sore.
"It was a man using his whole strength. I think I have a sprain, I am going to go to a doctor.
"He kept saying you can move. But I was stuck. I was protesting peacefully.
"Some of the cops are very … and needlessly aggressive. I can't understand - we all know we're in a crisis."
The Victorian Greens also criticised officers, tweeting: "A disgusting display of police force this morning as people peacefully protest IMARC."
Supporter Sheena, who did not give her surname, brought her three-year-son to the protest.
She said she was fighting so he could grow up in a safe place.
"I think it's incredibly important - they're taking Aboriginal land and are the main cause of climate change," she said.
"And they have blood on their hands. I think it's important that he grows up in a planet safe for him."
Organiser Emma Black, from the Blockade IMARC Alliance, said police were "incredibly hostile" already.
"The police have been incredibly hostile. I'm quite shocked," she said.
"This morning we were standing here very quietly … and the cops have been interrupting our ability to free speech."
Ms Black said the aim was still to shut down the conference. She said there were 23 groups involved in today's protests.
"We're hoping to drum up public pressures," she said.
A police spokesperson said protesters were blocking the disabled and wheelchair access into the building and refused to move when asked.
"Police moved in and the protesters were arrested. One police member received minor injuries during an arrest and is receiving medical treatment at the scene," the spokesperson said.
The injured police officer has since been taken to hospital.
The activists are lashing out against an international mining conference being held in Melbourne this week and have blocked the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre's main entrance.
The "mass disruption" will likely shut down Clarendon St during morning peak and aims to "make life hell" for those heading to the conference.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the right to protest was important but that violence was unacceptable.
"People have to obey the law, they have to behave in a reasonable way," he said.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy did not rule out harsher penalties for blockading protesters, but said she would be guided by police and their needs.
"Police are obviously making arrests and they are continuing with advice to the government in terms of how we need to respond to these circumstances," Ms Hennessy said.
"Police do have the power to move people on and they have clearly used some of those powers this morning.
"Ultimately trying to have cooperative protest helps protesters make their point, but also ensures people who are going about their lawful business are not impeded - and it seems we have a few challenges in getting that balance right."
ANOTHER WEEK OF PROTESTS IN MELBOURNE
It comes as about 100 protesters brought traffic to a temporary standstill in the CBD on Monday.
The protest was the first of four days of activism by groups lobbying against the mining industry, climate change and land rights.
Student protesters, joined by factions of Extinction Rebellion and other activist groups, yesterday led a march around the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre chanting "IMARC, blood on your hands," "shut Adani down" and "burn, burn, burn the rich."
The group then marched down Spencer St and along Collins St, before blockading the entrance to the offices of Australian mining giant Oceana Gold.
Riot police were also stationed across the road outside Rio Tinto's office.
Chants of "money for health and education, not for mining corporations" could be heard throughout the street.
Organiser Emma Black, 29, from Blockade IMARC Alliance, said they were protesting for a better future.
"The main message, our goal, is to shut down this conference," she said. "We don't want executives and policy makers to be meeting in our city.
"So this is a global message that, no, we won't stand for a big corporate green washing event.
"As long as it's profitable for them, they will keep raping the earth.
"We really just want to get a message out here that we won't stand for this."
More than 1200 people responded "going" to the official Facebook event for the group this week, with multiple activist groups encouraged to join in.
Victoria Police Acting Commander Tim Tully said police would be out in force and were "planning for the worst case scenario."