Melbourne, Apr 8 : Animal rights activists in Australia have taken over the streets to launch a nationwide protest, with a group of up to 100 people halting traffic at Melbourne's busiest intersection during peak hour. Police arrested 38 people, including three teenagers as young as 15 years old, who chained themselves to vans blocking the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets, outside Flinders Street Railway Station, reported Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Victoria Police Superintendent David Clayton said the lack of prior engagement with police from protesters was disappointing, with the actions causing considerable disruptions to thousands of people attempting to navigate through the CBD during peak hour. There was also a smaller group of activists who chained themselves at the entrance of the Melbourne Aquarium. Justice For Captives member Chelsea Hannah said some protesters linked arms by placing their hands in plastic pipes to represent the plight of animals in captivity.
"Animals are not entertainment. Making profit under the guise of conservation is fundamentally wrong," she said. Dairy farmers near Warwick on Queensland's Southern Downs said they were also confronted by activists outside their property about 0630 hours (local time), after they had left an earlier demonstration at an abattoir at Yangan. Freestone farmer Jason Christensen said five or six cars pulled up near a herd of heifers and had scared the animals. "We had about three heifers, they got out on the road, I don't know how they got out on the road. When we tried to get them to put them back in they [protesters] were standing in the way," Mr Christensen said.
"Dad had the main confrontation with them — swearing at dad, trying to get at him — they were trying to tell him he should be growing vegetables." Earlier Monday morning, about 20 people chained themselves to equipment at the Yangan abattoir, south-west of Brisbane, while others had infiltrated abattoirs in Goulburn, New South Wales and in Laverton in Melbourne. The protests were organised to mark the one-year anniversary of the release of the documentary Dominion, which looks into practices employed daily on Australian livestock farms. NSW protesters allegedly broke into the Goulburn abattoir about 1400 hours and had attached themselves to machinery with chains, taking police about an hour to cut them free. Nine people were arrested and charged with trespass. (UNI)