Mayor, deputy flee City Hall protester

BRISBANE'S Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner fled from climate change protesters and shut the gates to City Hall behind him this morning.

Former Greens Lord Mayoral candidate Ben Pennings was arrested during the same incident after he followed the media into the main foyer of City Hall.

Mr Pennings later posted on social media that he was let go at the watch house.

Cr Schrinner and Deputy Mayor Krista Adams walked away from protesters and the cameras this morning during a press conference on the Extinction Rebellion protest.

Protester and former lord mayoral candidate Ben Pennings at City Hall. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot
Protester and former lord mayoral candidate Ben Pennings at City Hall. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot

Former Greens Lord Mayoral candidate Ben Pennings crashed the conference, taking to the microphone to say he was a ratepayer and he had a right to be there.

He said the LNP were "climate criminals" who claimed to care about people but were not taking action to prevent or minimise devastating bushfires and floods.

Cr Schrinner said Mr Pennings should be ashamed of himself.

"You obviously don't care about people, you don't care about people stuck in traffic," he said.

A protester shouted Mr Penning ought to be proud of himself for standing up against climate change and began a chant of "shame on you".

Cr Adams told protestors "It would have been nice if you could have listened to the Lord Mayor" before gently tugging him away.

Cr Schrinner and Cr Adams walked away and shut the gates to City Hall behind them.

Mr Pennings said: "the Lord Mayor's run away from citizens who care about climate change."

Protesters shouted through the closed gates, calling for the "Lord" to come down and speak to the "plebs".

Mr Pennings managed to follow media into the foyer and tried to go to a second conference, saying he was a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

As a security guard blocked him from going upstairs to a second media conference with the Lord Mayor, he told her he understood she was just doing her job.

"We're a very peaceful movement," he said.

"We're concerned about climate change, I'm concerned about my kids, grandkids, and the Lord Mayor's running away from that. It's very sad to see."

He was then arrested by police, who attempted to stop journalists filming the incident.

At a later conference behind closed doors, Cr Schrinner took a massive swipe at the Australian Greens.

"What we saw downstairs was a former Greens Lord Mayoral candidate. This are the kind of people who are running the Greens Party, they do not care about the Brisbane community," he said.

Cr Scrhinner said he supported the activists right to protest but not their methods and rejected the idea he had run away.

"It's quite clear I was out there, happy to speak, they didn't want me to speak," he said.

"That's their choice, in the end it's important that they have the opportunity to have their say but not in the way that they're doing it."

He said the "disruptions" cost the city "millions" and he believed activists were losing supporters on the issue.

"They are making a very negative difference, they are costing the community, they are costing business, and they are turning people off on this this issue," he said.

"Every time people switch on the TV and see this, every time they're stuck in traffic or stuck in a bus, they are turning people off."