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Burning koala leads Vic climate protest


By Emily Woods in Melbourne
Source: AAP

A giant koala emitting plumes of smoke, and dozens of skeletons on bicycles have converged on a beachside suburb of Melbourne as part of a climate protest.

Dozens of Extinction Rebellion activists marched through Catani Gardens in St Kilda on Saturday, holding a mock-funeral with several people dressed in red walking ahead of the burning koala.

Blinky the koala, which is part-skeleton and stands about four metres high, let out groaning and crying noises as the protest went by.

About 21 people dressed as skeletons on bikes rode from Melbourne’s Princes Bridge to St Kilda earlier in the day, carrying briefcases full of money.

A similar protest was held in Ballarat on Saturday as part of an international day of action.

“Koalas and humans face a risk of extinction given the failure of governments to take the emergency action that is so desperately needed,” Extinction Rebellion Australia said in a statement.

The protest comes as the COP26 Climate Change Conference continues in Scotland.

“UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that it’s code red for humanity. But Australia has gone to the last-ditch COP26 climate negotiations as a laggard and a wrecker,” Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Jane Morton said.

“We are approaching the point of no return for out of control warming and billions of deaths. Today we are conducting a funeral.”

The climate protest is one of two demonstrations in Melbourne on Saturday, with thousands of people also rallying outside the state’s parliament to protest the Andrews government’s proposed pandemic legislation.

Climate activists had made their way back to the CBD and were protesting outside the state library on Saturday afternoon, around the corner from the pandemic protest.

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