Australian mining conference disrupted
Thursday, October 31st, 2019
Australian police arrested more than 40 people outside an international mining conference on Tuesday this week after climate change protesters tried to block delegates from entering a convention centre.
Several hundred colourfully dressed demonstrators linked arms and chanted slogans, leading to wild scenes as police tried to escort delegates into the conference, which included speakers from BHP Group and gold miner Newcrest. “I’m terrified for my future,” said Emma, a 22-year-old student from Adelaide, who said the industry should be ashamed of its behaviour. “They have chosen time and time again to put profit before people, to displace communities, to pillage the earth.”
Organizers criticized police for using aggressive and intimidating tactics, while several delegates said they had been spat at by protesters. Most of the arrests were for failing to obey police direction or obstructing an emergency service worker, police said, while two people were arrested for animal cruelty after striking a police horse. The protests come as the mining industry faces pressure to tackle issues such as climate change and pollution, and repair an image tarnished by environmental disasters. Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques told a conference in London on Monday this week that miners needed to find new ways to respond to increasing demands from investors and communities for responsible mining practices.