Climate protesters disrupt international mining conference in Melbourne

Activists with signs gathering outside Melbourne Convention Centre since Monday

Climate activists are gathering outside Melbourne Convention Centre in protest of the International Mining and Resources Conference.

MELBOURNE - Police are warning climate activists to keep their demonstrations peaceful, as delegates of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) are bracing themselves for a blockade-style protest in Melbourne.

Climate protesters had started to gather in the Australian city centre since Monday, Oct 28, with dozens carrying signs. More than 11 different groups have joined the protest, including Extinction Rebellion, which disrupted Australia earlier this month by shutting down capital city streets at peak hour, angering commuters.

Victoria Police said they were deploying more than 300 police per day to keep everyone safe until the conference ends on Thursday, Oct 31.

"We're there to facilitate a safe and peaceful protest and we can work with (protesters) in achieving that," Victoria Police spokesman Tim Tully was quoted as saying by Australian media reports.

"However ...  If we see that it is unlawful or causing disruption to the community and puts their safety in danger, we will act and we will act swiftly."

Disruptions are expected for traffic, pedestrians and public transport in the South Wharf area with a flow-on effect felt in the CBD.

A mass blockade has been planned for Clarendon Street on Tuesday morning, the main day of protest, while Greens Senator Adam Bandt will address the blockade on Wednesday.

More than 7,000 mining industry leaders, policy makers and investors from 100 countries are expected to attend the conference, IMARC says on its website.

Conference organisers warned attendees to come early as registration and security would take at least 45 minutes for each person to counter the threat, with mandatory bag searches.

"We have worked very hard with the venue, local police and our security team to ensure we minimise disruption to your arrival at the event and your safety throughout your attendance,"  organisers said on the IMARC website.


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