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Climate activists use bikes to block morning traffic

“We have a range of intel streams coming in, so we do ultimately, with relatively short notice, get intelligence of what the day will look like,” he said.

“We have to plan for the worst case scenario because it’s unclear what it looks like for us.”

He said the rail system and airport could be targets for the protesters.

“We’ve turned our mind to it. We’ve been doing some workshopping around scenario-planning for weeks … to understand that risk and if it realises to respond appropriately,” he said.

“What we have heard from our intel is aspects of critical infrastructure, including the airport could be one of them, are those that may be targeted from this afternoon.”

The climate activists used bikes to block Melbourne intersections for brief periods on Wednesday morning on the third day of the group’s week-long of protest in Australian cities.

About 35 cyclists took off from Carlton Gardens about 7.30am and blocked intersections on Hoddle Street, in Collingwood.

The bike brigade blocked the intersection of Hoddle and Gipps streets for about three minutes, before taking off. The group chanted “climate action now” as police swooped around them. Police were following the group as they made their way down Gipps Street.

Extinction Rebellion protesters on Wednesday morning.

Extinction Rebellion protesters on Wednesday morning.Credit:Jason South

Teacher Campbell Gome was part of the group disrupting motorists’ commute.

“Like the suffragettes and the civil rights movement in the US, I have come to understand that acts of civil disobedience is what people need to do to get the government to act,” Mr Gome said.

Mr Gome was arrested earlier in the year after protesting on the Princes Bridge.

He said a three-minute disruption for a small number of people was nothing like the impact the climate emergency was having “right now”.

“People are becoming ill and dying because of climate change. It’s happening now and will continue. The inconvenience to people from climate change is far greater than people being a few minutes late to work.”

One commuter said the traffic block was frustrating, even though he supported the climate action cause.

“I know they need to get the message across, but does it have to be at peak hour?” he asked.

“It makes me a little against the cause in a way.”

Another motorist stopped at the traffic lights said he was already late for work and this would make him later.

Riders handed out pamphlets to drivers, which detailed their push for the government to act on climate change.

Members of Extinction Rebellion stage a protest in the water feature at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

Members of Extinction Rebellion stage a protest in the water feature at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Credit:Chris Hopkins

Later, activists jumped into the water feature in front of the National Gallery of Victoria for a Last Supper-style protest. Six activists “dined in black tie attire on the last pieces of coal in the world”.

Protester Andrew George was arrested at Tuesday’s blockade on Collins and Spring street.

Late last night he signed bail conditions stating he wouldn’t protest, but he hasn’t ruled out attending more Extinction Rebellion actions throughout the week.

He said “the urgency of the situation means that ordinary people need to do extraordinary things, which may include breaching bail conditions” in order to “keep doing the actions we need to do to get the public attention and our demands met”.

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A police media spokesman would not say whether similar bail conditions were being sought for all arrested protesters.

Further disruptions are expected on Wednesday afternoon across the CBD.

Extinction Rebellion has organised a ‘Swarm for Survival’ rally and its Facebook page says activists will be “popping up around the city, hitting up key locations causing a fuss and disrupting traffic”.

Dozens of people were arrested on Tuesday.

Those who cooperated with police have been issued a summary offence, which is generally a fine of a few hundred dollars, whereas those who resisted were charged with an indictable offence such as obstructing an emergency worker and have to attend court.

A 14-year-old was among those arrested, Mr Hansen said.

While police are confident they can meet demand for calls for assistance throughout Melbourne, he said they were redeploying police from suburban stations and other proactive investigations which will “take a bit of a hit”.

A police media spokeswoman would not reveal how many officers were working on the protest, however there has been a strong police presence around the CBD and hundreds of officers attended Tuesday’s strike.

Public Order Response officers have also attended the protests.

The protest is part of a week-long global campaign demanding action on climate change.

On Tuesday, police arrested 59 Extinction Rebellion protesters after hundreds blocked the intersection of Spring and Collins streets, stopping trams and traffic while singing to police.

Police arrested 11 protesters in Melbourne on Monday night after thousands of activists shut down city streets during the afternoon’s peak-hour commute.

About 30 tents were erected in Carlton Gardens on Monday night.

More to come

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