Activists stage rooftop protest at Qld Parliament

In Australasia, Governments & Politics, News Headlines, Protests & Campaigns

There has been a security breach at Parliament House in Brisbane, with protesters getting through security to unfurl a large banner from the roof.

A rally organised by Friends of the Earth drew hundreds of farming families and environmentalists to Queensland Parliament.

They called for Premier Anna Bligh to come outside to hear their concerns about coal mining and extractive gas industries.

When Ms Bligh did not appear, some of the protesters were stopped from entering the building by police standing shoulder to shoulder at the gate.

But attention turned to the roof when two protesters appeared and worked for about several minutes to unfurl a large banner.

A cheer went up when the slogan “Don’t undermine our farms” was revealed.

Police have since arrested the men who scaled the building.

Police say the two men have been charged with unauthorised trespass in the parliamentary precinct and high-risk activity.

Friends of the Earth confirmed one was Bradley Smith, the activist who disrupted a climate change speech by Prime Minister Julia Gillard last month.

Mr Smith was released without charge after disrupting Ms Gillard’s speech at the University of Queensland in the first week of the election campaign.

John Mackenzie from Friends of the Earth told today’s rally the State Government was permitting a dangerous experiment.

“They think it’s okay to put toxic chemicals in your waterways,” he said.

“We’re here to say Queensland is not your experimental ground, it’s not your quarry – this is our home, this is where we live, this is where the people we love live.

“We will not rest until we have absolute guarantees that land will be protected.”

Earlier today two protesters were ejected from the public gallery of Parliament after they yelled out and unfurled a banner.

The rally started with a procession of children on ride-on tractors.

Protester Ruth Armstrong from Cecil Plains on the Darling Downs says they want protection from gas extraction industries.

“We’re still in drought … we’ve been in drought for 14 years and they want to bring water to the surface as a waste product,” she said.

Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson told Parliament the Government was listening to the protesters’ concerns.

“That’s why we will also soon introduce laws that give landholders stronger rights and impose additional obligations on resource companies,” he said.

“This will include ensuring companies seek to minimise any impacts from their activities on landholders’ family, land, livelihood and lifestyle.”

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