Australia

Queensland cracks down on climate change protesters with new laws

Extinction Rebellion protesters in Brisbane. Source: AAP

Devices sometimes used by climate change protesters to lock themselves together and block traffic will be made illegal in Queensland.

Devices employed by protesters to lock themselves together and make it harder to be removed from roads and train tracks will be outlawed in Queensland.

Using the steel cylinders or drums filled with concrete will carry a penalty under new laws. Police will also be given powers to search people and vehicles they suspect are carrying them.

Dozens of Extinction Rebellion climate protesters have been arrested in recent weeks but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament on Tuesday she believes new laws are needed.

Those protesters want communities to collectively find solutions that would lead to zero carbon emissions by 2025, the preservation of biodiversity and the truth being told about global heating.

They say stopping traffic makes people take notice of the issue and is necessary action to avoid extinction.

But the premier doesn't like those tactics, describing them as reckless and selfish.

A recent Extinction Rebellion protest.
A recent Extinction Rebellion protest.
AAP

She says police have told her the cylinders and drums used to bring thoroughfares to a standstill contain pieces of glass and butane gas containers that injure those who try to cut the protesters out.

"Everyone has the right to conduct a peaceful protest," she told parliament on Tuesday.

"The activities of some are not peaceful, they're not right and I'm not going to let them continue."

Police Minister Mark Ryan has branded such protesters as "extremists" who don't share the values of democracy, like respect for the law and the rights of others.

"This government will bring in measures to disrupt the actions of those who believe their rights can ride rough shot over the rights of others," he said.

It comes as Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner gets ready to introduce a bill imposing tougher penalties for protesters who trespass.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Queensland Parliament.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Queensland Parliament.
AAP

He says protesters don't have the right to trespass, lock themselves to machinery or disrupt the agricultural sector.

Those found guilty of trespassing on farm land would face a maximum penalty of up to a year behind bars once the bill becomes law.

Earlier this year the state government allowed police and biosecurity officers to issue on-the-spot fines of $652.17 to activists on top of existing trespass penalties.

It followed a spate of animal rights protests on farms and abattoirs.

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