BY GILLIAN AERIA
Climate activists superglued themselves to the steps and doors of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), blocking the entrance to its Melbourne headquarters yesterday.
Members of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) aimed to highlight IPA’s conservative agenda, which includes persisting with fossil fuel use, ditching renewables and what XR termed “collusion between corporations and politics”.
During the demonstration five activists, including a teenager and a retiree, superglued their hands to the steps of the IPA's Collins Street headquarters.
Around a dozen police attended the standoff, making one arrest for vandalism.
Protestor and grandfather-of-four Anthony Gleeson said society was ready to deal with climate change, but lobby groups like the IPA were holding everything back.
“The market is ready [for renewable alternatives], and it's organisations like the IPA with vested interests that are stopping it,” Mr Gleeson said.
The non-violent protest began around lunchtime when foot traffic from city workers was at its peak.
A former high school teacher, Mr Gleeson said he felt a responsibility to ensure young people's voices were heard on climate change.
“When there’s 1.6 million youth rallying around the world saying that they want action on climate change, I think, as adults, we have to respond to that.”
XR police liaison Michael Staindl commended officers for being “cooperative” and “respectful of our right to a peaceful protest”.
“The police have been excellent… They just want us to keep the footpath clear,” Mr Staindl said.
“[The Police] have asked us if we’ve got plans for how we could get off [unglue] but, needless to say, that’s kept under wraps.”
Activist Violet CoCo was arrested for spray-painting ‘Climate Emergency’ on the ground outside IPA headquarters.
Ms CoCo was taken to Melbourne West Police Station, but later released without charge.
The rally concluded around 4 pm when protesters used acetone to detach themselves from the building and clean the steps.
Extinction Rebellion, which originated in the UK, formed its Australian branch in Melbourne in late 2018. The group has amassed more than 4,000 members here.
Mojo News contacted the Institute of Public Affairs, but they declined to comment.