Mass arrests as protesters cause havoc
Chaotic scenes have played out in cities across the country as climate change activists block major roads, grind traffic to a halt and get dragged away by police.
Elderly people and men in suits have been seen being dragged through Broadway, Sydney, as crowds block the busy arterial road headed out of the city.
Extinction Rebellion activists planned to shut down capital cities around the world today - blocking roads, bridges, transport links and more - to demand urgent government action to address the climate and ecological emergency.
News.com.au saw about 15 protesters of various ages being arrested in quick succession at Broadway this afternoon, including teenagers and seniors.
The activists became heated as police calmly escorted some protesters away.
Some protesters have staged a sit-in and police are struggling to move them on.
The protesters are using chants, drums, flags and loud speakers as part of the demonstration.
Police have dragged away the protesters' pink water tank they had placed on the road.
Police mounted on four horses have created a stand-off, blocking the path of the demonstrators, who are chanting "our water, our streets".
They said 18 people have been arrested, four of those of girls aged 13-15.
"It's very tense scenes down here," a news.com.au reported said from the scene.
"Lots of concern for a woman protesters claim was roughly handled by police.
"She's currently sat handcuffed on the ground with a red mark on her wrist.
"Protesters are arguing with police who have made a line in front of her.
"One female cop turned around and said to a protester, 'she's been in custody for five minutes, I think she'll be all right'."
In Brisbane at least six people have been arrested after attaching themselves to large wooden boxes dropped in the middle of the road.
As police loaded the protesters into a paddy wagon, other Extinction Rebellion members taunted with cries of "job well done" and "too many cops, not enough justice".
Demonstrations were taking place in more than 60 cities around the world today, including Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth and Hobart.
The group said "a large cohort of activists in each city are ready and willing to be arrested as they make a stand against the negligence of governments to act on this major threat to life itself".
it said the series of mass protests would focus on specific themes, including the need for governments, the media, and other key institutions to "tell the truth" and "act now".
This protest, known in Australia as the Spring Rebellion, follows the first Extinction Rebellion event in April, which saw rebels disrupt the centre of London for two weeks, resulting in the UK Government declaring a climate emergency.
"In Australia, the rapid growth of Extinction Rebellion reflects the deep concern ordinary people are now feeling about the climate crisis," the group wrote in a media release.
"We are experiencing the first taste of the massive disasters to come; record-smashing droughts, deadly blazes, monster storms and floods.
"Globally, millions of people are already running out of water as farming land turns to desert.
"Refugees flee climate chaos as they are forced from their homes. Mass animal extinctions are already happening."
The group said it was calling on leaders to face up to the worst crisis in history.