A midwife shut down two lanes of peak-hour traffic in the Brisbane CBD this morning, climbing a 10-metre “tripod” on Victoria Bridge to display an umbrella with the message, “Climate denial is child abuse.”
The Extinction Rebellion protester voluntarily came down after an hour and was taken into police custody. At midday, a Queensland Police spokesman said the woman was still being processed.
The “direct action” protest group said the woman, which it named in a press release as Sophie Thompson, 22, was told she will face Brisbane Magistrates court later this afternoon.
In the media release, the woman said that “as a midwife, I cannot stand by as the Government harms children by continuing to ignore the climate emergency”.
She said she was protesting “in solidarity with Greta Thunberg and all the school striking children who are sacrificing their futures to protect our climate”. “They have shown us the way and I am following their example,” she said.
Ms Thompson climbed the structure at around 7.30am on Monday and began livestreaming to the Extinction Rebellion South-East Queensland Facebook page. “I am taking this action as someone from a lot of privilege because I believe it’s necessary,” she said on the livestream.
“I’ve been involved in this climate movement for the past two years. I’ve tried petitioning, I’ve gone to hundreds of rallies, I’ve called my local MP, I’ve tried every other route of change and it hasn’t worked. I’m taking this action today to get media to tell the truth about this issue.”
Ms Thompson said she had “four demands”, including “strong climate action” by transitioning to 100 per cent renewables by 2025, “preserving biodiversity”, “getting media to actually report properly on this issue” and “fourthly to dismantle colonial systems of oppression”.
“I’m a normal person, I was born and grew up here in so-called Brisbane, went to school here, went to uni here,” she said. “I’m just a normal person practising civil disobedience because I think it’s a necessary tactic.”
Extinction Rebellion South-East Queensland said it was “expecting thousands to rebel and many arrests next week as part of international rebellion week”. It comes after similar disruptive protests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide over the past few months.