Mass Civil Disobedience in Australia and Canada

Two large, well organized, but apparently unrelated actions today on either side of the globe underscore the rising intensity of the fight for climate justice.

In Australia, about 150 activists were arrested in the capitol as they demanded a strong, legally binding treaty in Copenhagen.  Newcastle Rising Tide takes credit for the action, and you can find more photos here.  The AFP reports on the story here, with this:

“The demonstrators have converged on the front entrance to parliament house, blocking public access to the building,” a police spokesman told AFP.

The citizens were called to action by frustrations with the Prime Minister who they feel has gone back on his campaign promises and not done enough to keep big polluters out of crafting climate policy.

“This has been a true expression of the deep sense of betrayal many Australians feel about Kevin Rudd’s lack of effective action on climate change,” said Georgina Woods, spokesperson for the demonstration. “We voted for this government so they would stand up to the big polluters, and lead the world on dealing with the impending climate crisis.” Read more about it at

Across the world, in Calgary, Alberta, citizens were taking direct action, apparently organized by Canada Climate Justice.  From their blog:

The first of a series of citizen-organized peaceful sit-ins targeting elected officials, tar sands financiers, and the coal and tar sands industries began today at Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s Calgary constituency office. Six people – five of whom are constituents of Minister Prentice – entered the office just after 10:00 AM refusing to leave, demanding that the Harper government and all parties act to combat the climate crisis and stop the millions of deaths and displacements that will result from more inaction on global warming pollution.

The most recent update, as of 3pm, was that the protesters were still there and prepared to stay until the police forced them out at the close of business.   You can see more pictures from the day here.

If you have more information on either of these actions, please post it here, as we’ll be watching for updates.

10 Responses to “Mass Civil Disobedience in Australia and Canada”

  1. 1 Jordan Nov 23rd, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks for the men­tion Mor­gan, I’ve just read through your arti­cle. The Canadian contingent are still in the office as of the last report I’d heard. I’ve got to head back down to once I’m done post­ing to see how things are pro­gress­ing.. I’m just glad to see some­body in this coun­try (and oth­ers!) finally take a stand. It’s unfor­tu­nate that we’ve let things go on this long..

  2. 2 T. B. Nov 23rd, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Here’s a photo from the Calgary sit-in –

  3. 3 zoe Nov 23rd, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Here is a short media interview in regards to the action in Calgary, Canada.

  4. 4 Jordan Nov 24th, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Thanks again for the coverage Morgan, Looks like your action went really well too! We’re all looking forward to seeing more movement from our governments in the future!

    Just to give you a final update (if you don’t have it already), our guys (and gal) were led out of the Minister’s office around seven pm and issued with mischief charges, and court dates for the end of the year. I’ve posted more photos for you all at (sorry for the plug).

    Also, I’ve watermarked all of the original images now, but I’m more than happy for you to continue using the unwatermarked version. Cheers!

  5. 5 Morgan Nov 24th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Jordan, great work on this. I watched the interview, and the news coverage is exactly what we need – passionate citizens telling the world why we need to step up the action on climate in every way.

    What’s next in the campaign?

  6. 6 Jonathan Nov 24th, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    That’s up to you, Morgan!

  1. 1 “Mass Civil Disobedience in Australia and Canada” « Mobilization for Climate Justice – London, Ontario Trackback on Nov 23rd, 2009 at 7:41 pm
  2. 2 Mass Civil Disobedience in Australia and Canada « Canadians for Climate Change Action Trackback on Nov 24th, 2009 at 9:29 am
  3. 3 The Understory » Challenging the Corporate Climate Crisis Trackback on Nov 27th, 2009 at 9:59 pm
  4. 4 Challenging the Corporate Climate Crisis « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:30 pm
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About Morgan

Morgan is a wandering climate activist, a job well suited to the editorial board of this site. He organized at Williams College until his aprubt and unfortunate graduation in 2008. There, he was a Chinese major, student body co-president and one of the leaders of Thursday Night Group, the campus climate action group. Since graduating, in no particular order, Morgan has worked on a community energy efficiency campaign in western Mass, co-directed NH SPROG for the SSC and worked on Power Vote in Cleveland. He spent traveled in China, networking with youth climate activists and learning about the solar hot water business. He worked on Long Island for a solar and wind company doing home evaluations and sales. And he spent the better part of a year in DC at the Avaaz Action Factory causing trouble for a good cause.

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