BY AMANDO JOO
Vegan activists brought the city to a standstill during the morning peak, when around 100 protesters staged a sit-in on the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets.
Commuters rushing to work were urged to watch the animal rights documentary Dominion, which activists said shows the dark-side of the animal agriculture industry.
Dominion filmmaker Chris Delforce said the documentary's alarming content would help explain why vegans were taking such dramatic measures.
“This (protest) was part of a coordinated series of actions to really make as much noise as we could, so people couldn’t just ignore what’s happening to animals,” Mr Delforce said.
The protest was staged at the same time the city's largest ever train shutdown began, adding to commuter pain as the month-long construction blitz began.
Commuter Hannah Cohen said the demonstrators should not “impede on other people’s personal views and daily lives”.
“Everyone’s got the rights to exercise their political will and ideologies, but if it’s going to affect the entire city, they could’ve thought of more creative ways to express their concerns,” Ms Cohen said.
The protest brought 11 tram lines to a standstill from 7am, until police intervened and removed the activists at around 10:30am.
Some activists marched towards Melbourne Aquarium on King Street, forming a chain using pipes.
The animal liberation protest extended to three Victorian abattoirs: MC Herd in Geelong, Westside Meats in Bacchus Marsh, and O’Connors Abattoir in Pakenham.
Mr Delforce said activists had been willing to break the law to make Dominion, as they used drones, hidden cameras and trespassed to film inside abattoirs.
“The only way for consumers to be able to see what’s happening inside abattoirs is for activists to go in and get that footage because the industry isn’t going to put it out themselves,” Mr Delforce said.
Police arrested 39 people including one 15 year-old and two 17-year olds.
A police spokesperson said a further 20 protesters who picketed the three abattoirs were expected to be charged with trespass.