‘Send protesters to prison’: Premier

THE Palaszczuk Government will fast-track laws aimed at sending ­Extinction Rebellion protesters to jail.

A fed-up Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday night "enough is enough'' and she wanted protesters sent to prison.

"Someone is going to get hurt,'' she said.

"Most people do the right thing … it's just this group who need to be brought under control.''

Ms Palaszczuk said Extinction Rebellion had crossed the line and were now using dangerous devices to tie up police resources.

 

On Tuesday, 11 police officers and four firefighters were needed to deal with just three protesters on one CBD corner.

Almost 30 people were ­arrested during hours of chaos in which paramedics were on standby and firefighters had to cut protesters from heavy barrels and even a boat trailer they had handcuffed themselves to.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Activists from Extinction Rebellion. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Ms Palaszczuk said their actions were dangerous, reckless and irresponsible.

After a briefing late yesterday with Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll and Police Minister Mark Ryan, Ms Palaszczuk said she was not against protests, but the climate change rebellion was becoming dangerous.

She said that she would not declare a climate emergency in Queensland. "I say to protesters … 'what if it was your mother or grandmother that was held up from getting to hospital because of your actions, blocking streets','' she said.

"It's time to get these laws passed. We will bypass the normal submissions period and get them promulgated within days.''

An activist from Extinction Rebellion, with his arm in a barrel of cement, participating in a protest on George Street, Brisbane on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
An activist from Extinction Rebellion, with his arm in a barrel of cement, participating in a protest on George Street, Brisbane on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Police Minister Ryan has written to Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee to fast-track the protest laws. Under the new laws, protesters will be jailed for up to two years if they bring dangerous devices such as drums with concrete and locks, which are used on bridges and roads.

The new laws give police the power to search people for these devices, prohibiting vehicles entering the CBD.

It's understood Commissioner Carroll warned the Government that police are becoming increasingly frustrated at arresting protesters, only to see them back on the street within hours.

The new laws were announced two months ago, but would have taken at least until early-2020 to be enacted under the current legislative timetable.

The Red Rebel Brigade activists from Extinction Rebellion on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
The Red Rebel Brigade activists from Extinction Rebellion on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

The tough stance comes as Queensland Ambulance Service medical director Dr Stephen Rashford labelled protesters "morons" as he filmed a man dangling from the Story Bridge in protest.

 

 

"Honestly, enjoying our rights in Australia to safely protest does not give you the right to act like a moron and tie up valuable emergency services and @QldPolice @QldAmbulance," he tweeted. "A waste of valuable emergency services."

But in official statements, QAS and Queensland Fire and Emergency Service denied their resources were ­affected by the protests.