Cops’ sneaky trick to deter protesters

Climate protesters have blocked a major road with an eerie protest, but police have a sneaky tactic to stop them from staying overnight.

Climate protesters have blocked a major road in Melbourne’s CBD for the second time in just two working days, but their actions have been slammed by police.

The force has also revealed a sneaky trick it would use in a bid to stop Extinction Rebellion demonstrators from camping overnight in a city park.

Protesters staged a “die-in” outside Parliament House on Monday morning, with the intersection of Bourke and Spring streets turned into a makeshift morgue.

Activists lay on the road with white sheets draped over them, blocking motorists and delaying trams.

One elderly protester was peacefully arrested when she refused an order from police to move on.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said the protesters would be arrested if they refused to comply with a direction to cease their obstruction.

“If people don’t comply with our directions to stop obstructing pedestrians, public transport and roads, we’ll move in and effect arrests of people who continue their obstruction,” he told 3AW on Monday.

Mr Cornelius also revealed the City of Melbourne would consider turning the sprinklers on if protesters camped overnight in Carlton Gardens.

The group plans to camp in the park on the northeast edge of the CBD for the duration of a week of protest action, but the move is illegal under council bylaws.

“If someone does set up a tent overnight and they get under our radar, if they’re not packed up by the early hours of the morning the City of Melbourne have told me they’re putting the sprinklers on, so they’ll be getting very wet if they choose to camp overnight,” Mr Cornelius said.

“They’re not like water cannons, but grass and our parks and gardens can always do with a bit of moisture I reckon.

“If camping occurs we will support City of Melbourne bylaws officers in having those camping sites taken down and moving individuals who are camping on.”

Mr Cornelius said just under 2000 police officers had been tasked to respond to the protests planned throughout the week.

He said that was 2000 officers who wouldn’t be out keeping their local community safe.

“That’s 2000 members who would otherwise be out in local police stations keeping the community safe,” he said.

“Policing such a significant and disruptive protest over such an extended period of time has a huge impact of community safety.”

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said turning the sprinklers on was one of the tactics local laws officers had at their disposal.

“This sort of action at the moment is just so disrespectful and unnecessary,” she told 3AW.

“That’s a tactic that will have to be decided at the time, but it’s certainly one of the options we have.

“Our officers are really trying to limit the disruption in the city.”

The latest protest comes after two Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested on Friday morning for parking a truck outside Flinders Street train station and blocking trams from more than 90 minutes.

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