on air now

Anti-mining protesters block Collins Street as week of disruptions kicks off

Another week of protests has begun today, with Melburnians warned to expect delays.

Protesters gathered outside the International Mining and Resource Conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre this morning, before marching down Collins Street, blocking traffic.

Today’s IMARC blockade is the first of several protests planned throughout the duration of the conference.

On a Facebook event for today’s blockade, 1200 people indicated they were “attending” the event.

Eleven protest groups are involved in the protests, including Extinction Rebellion, the group which shutdown the city in a series of climate protests earlier this month.

Emma Black, spokesperson for the Blockade IMARC Activist Alliance, said her group doesn’t intend to disrupt the city, but other groups taking part in the blockades may cause disruptions.

“I can’t speak on behalf of Extinction Rebellion,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“They’re an affinity group of ours over which we have no authority. What they do is their business. They may be disrupting the city later today, we have reports that they might do so.

“We can’t control what people do at a big mass protest like this, we can only control what we and ourselves in our own organisation do and try and give people advice and make suggestions, but these things, especially if they’re mass, can be volatile and you can’t take responsibility for the actions of every individual on the ground. It’s impossible.”

Secretary of the Police Association, Sergeant Wayne Gatt, said the protests will put strain on police resources.

“This will be a challenging week for our members again,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“These appear to be fairly large scale protests that will suck up a lot of police resources. From our point of view, we just hope our members come out of them safe and sound.

“We would just call on protesters to think about the bigger issue here and the broader impacts this might have on other Victorians, too.”