Climate activists, part of a newly formed group Blockade Australia, have halted train movements and operations around the Port of Newcastle, the world’s largest coal port. Some protestors climbed the top of the machinery at the Port and pressed an emergency safety button, brining operations to a standstill.
Numerous arrests have been made since protests began. NSW police commissioner has warned the protestors that they could face sentences of up to 25 years on charges of interfering with a railway, with intent to kill or harm.
Coal was an issue of major contention at COP26. While Australia has made large strides in renewable energy deployment and generation within the country, it still gathers large amounts of revenue from coal export. In response to Australia’s role in the climate crisis, the protestors in the coalmining region of Hunter, NSW, Australia, argue that their actions are the only way to force necessary government action on coal.
Blockade Australia’s actions have seen a strong response from law enforcement who highlight the economic and security impacts of the protests. Yet, the protestors have vowed to continue their protests. As the situation escalates, it might prompt greater discussions on aspects relating to decarbonisation, Australia’s role in the crisis, and the impacts on the economy. The growing discontent of activists, many of whom are young adults, towards global climate policy might also contribute to further protests and disruptions.
Blockade Australia: anti-coal activists vow more disruption despite warnings of 25-year jail sentences https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/17/blockade-australia-anti-coal-activists-vow-more-disruption-despite-warnings-of-25-year-jail-sentences
Will threats of 25 years in prison stop Newcastle's daily coal protests? https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-16/possible-prison-for-protesters-breaking-in-coal-loading-facility/100623110