Extinction Rebellion: elderly protesters arrested and charged in Tasmania | Environment

Four Tasmanians aged in their late 70s are among a swag of climate activists charged over a protest in Launceston.

About 100 people attended the Extinction Rebellion protest in Launceston on Friday and police say most were well-behaved, but nine refused to move on when the demonstration’s permitted time ran out.

The group of nine was arrested and each person was charged with failing to comply with a police officer’s directions.

They included two 77-year-old men, two 77-year-old women, a 33-year-old women and another three men aged 63, 64, 65 and 69.

Extinction Rebellion has been leading a week-long series of protests in major cities to raise awareness about climate change as part of a campaign to force Australian governments to declare a climate emergency.

Their activities have included locking themselves to concrete objects and fences and glueing themselves to roads.

On Friday, the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, resumed his attack on Extinction Rebellion activists, branding them “radicals” and “outliers”.

“They do their cause more harm than good,” he told Nine Network on Friday. “They are, frankly, just thumbing their nose at Australians who want to work, run their businesses [and] don’t want to be disrupted by these people.”

Dutton again raised the prospect of charging protesters acting without permits for the cost of the police response.

“When you are acting outside of the law, which these people are doing, you are diverting valuable police resources,” he said. “I think there should be a price to pay for that,” he said.

On Thursday, Labor members from inner-Brisbane unanimously passed a resolution condemning the mass arrests of climate activists and describing the Queensland government’s proposed crackdown as “eerily reminiscent” of the state’s authoritarian Bjelke-Petersen era.

The Tasmanian protesters will appear at the Launceston magistrates court at a later date.

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