Protesters marched through central Sydney, blocking access to the Harbor Tunnel as climate activists threaten a week of illegal protests.
Blockade Australia says it has embarked on a “mobilization in Sydney to resist climate destruction”, with groups disrupting intersections across the city Monday morning.
Protesters came together “to cause disruption to Australia’s political and economic systems that are causing climate destruction”.
A group of about 50 protesters marched north through several streets after meeting in Hyde Park around 8am.
The group dispersed when it was blocked by police at the intersection of George and Bridge Street, blocking access to the Harbor Bridge.
NSW Police are in force in the CBD and have a strong presence on the Harbor Bridge after Blockade Australia signaled a resurgence in their activities last week, leading to earlier closures of Port Botany, the Harbor Bridge and the Spit Bridge.
The Transport Management Center said the harbor tunnel at the entrance to North Sydney was closed at 8.30am after a protester parked a car and blocked access.
Blockade Australia broadcast live video of the young woman in her car saying she was from Lismore, the epicenter of unprecedented flooding this year in northern NSW.
All traffic was diverted via the Harbor Bridge and traffic was blocked for miles.
The tunnel was reopened after the car was removed, the Transport Management Center said at 9.12 am.
Blockade Australia said it would continue to cause disruptions throughout the week.
“Disruption to the infrastructure of the Australian exploitation project is essential to break the climate denial that this system survives from,” it said.
Olivia, a spokeswoman for the group, said Sydney had been where Australia’s destruction of the continent had been most intense.
“Our collective survival rests on organized opposition and the use of strategic direct action to resist this project of destruction.”
Earlier this year, the NSW government passed legislation to crack down on illegal protesters after several arrests of climate activists who blocked traffic and access to ports.
Protesters face a maximum sentence of two years in prison and $22,000 in fines for disrupting traffic or blocking access on roads.
The legislation also spawned new offenses against people blocking access to key facilities such as ports and railways.
Blockade Australia said it would hold a media conference on Monday afternoon.