Climate protesters consider airport disruption
THE climate change anarchist group regularly shutting down Brisbane streets have privately flagged adopting the "methods and tactics" of the Hong Kong protesters who crippled that city's airport for two days, stranding thousands of visitors.
The disturbing new idea by Extinction Rebellion SEQ has ramped up concerns about the group's escalating desire to cause greater disruption to commuters and the economy.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has slammed the activists, warning that replicating the Hong Kong protests would be a breach of anti-terrorism laws.
In a post among Extinction Rebellion SEQ members this week, one man states: "I am horrified looking at news from Hong Kong but am also fascinated by the methods and tactics used by the protesters there. It may be worth looking at how they are protesting and adapting some of these to local conditions?
"Imagine however the disruption if say someone was to temporarily disable the boom gates at the parking station?
"Simple, violent and not causing any permanent damage."
One group member replied: "The airport disruption was quite enormous." The original poster responded: "I thought this was a great tactic."
Ms Frecklington told The Courier-Mail yesterday that "these Muppets need to have a good hard look at themselves in the mirror".
"For them to even consider replicating the scenes at Hong Kong Airport here in Brisbane is beyond the pale.
"To shut down an airport would be nothing short of criminal behaviour and a breach of federal anti-terrorism laws.
"Trying to occupy an airport proves these extremists are all about attention and not about their cause."
More than 70 climate change activists in Brisbane were charged with contravening a police direction, obstructing traffic, obstructing police, and breach of the peace on August 6 after hundreds of protesters, many linked to Extinction Rebellion SEQ, caused major traffic chaos in the CBD.
In Hong Kong, residents are protesting against an extradition bill that would allow authorities to detain and extradite people to mainland China.
The South China Morning Post reported this week that the disruption at Hong Kong airport - which let to the cancellation of almost 600 flights over two days - would cost the country more than US$76.48 million.
Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien, who used to work in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, said "this mob" was missing the point.
"If they can get some mileage out of associating themselves with the Hong Kong protesters, they will,'' Mr O'Brien said.
"But any such comparison is farcical. In the hearts of Hong Kong protesters burns a desire for freedom whereas this Extinction Rebellion mob desires nothing but anarchy.
"Like most extreme left wing radicals, they're in a race to be seen to hold the high moral ground, but what they forget is that the quiet Australian is no fool."
Brisbane-based National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said the climate change protests had already severely inconvenienced commuters, businesses and everyday people trying to get to work.
"Causing disruption at the airport is taking things to a whole other level that has the potential to create more harm than just making someone late for work," she said.
A Brisbane Airport Corporation spokeswoman said ensuring the "safety and comfort" of passengers and staff was a top priority.
"Should protest activity impact on the ability of the airport to operate, or wilful damage is caused to airport property, police will respond appropriately," she said.