Extinction Rebellion protest causes traffic, tram chaos on Flinders Street in Melbourne CBD

Traffic chaos erupted in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday morning after protesters parked a truck in the middle of a major intersection.

Police have cleared a major intersection in Melbourne’s CBD after climate activists brought traffic to a standstill.

Protesters parked a truck – with “doing nothing risks everything” emblazoned on the side – on the tram tracks at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets, impacting traffic and public transport.

Police directed cars around the truck, while trams travelling along Flinders and Swanston street were completely blocked.

Yarra Trams said Flinders Street and Swanston Street trams were delayed, with commuters unable to access route 1, 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 or 72 trams between stop 14 at the Arts Precinct and Melbourne University.

The authority also said route 70 and 75 trams towards Docklands would divert via Spring Street.

Yarra Trams apologised to commuters for the inconvenience caused.

The intersection was cleared just after 9.30am, with trams resuming straight away.

“Due to a rally in the CBD there are no Swanston Street trams currently running between Queensberry Street/Arts Precinct and Melbourne University,” they said.

“You may consider city loop trains or trams along Elizabeth Street as an alternative.”

The protest has been organised by climate activists Extinction Rebellion.

Two protesters were seated on top of the truck, but no one was in the driver’s seat.

At least six people are believed to be involved in the protest, including other members standing on the footpath around the intersection.

Police speak to protesters on the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets in Melbourne’s CBD on March 19.
Picture: Facebook
Two protesters sitting are on top of the truck.
Picture: Facebook Source:Supplied

Police escorted the two protesters down from the truck about 9.30am after occupying the intersection for 90 minutes.

The pair were arrested, loaded into the back of a divvy van and taken to Melbourne West police station.

One of the arrested protesters, known as Andy, said from the back of a police car he was willing to get arrested and face the legal system because he was “privileged as”.

One of the protesters arrested by police on Friday morning. Picture: Facebook Source:Supplied
Police removed the protesters about 9.30am. Picture: Facebook Source:Supplied

“Right now we’re in a nonviolent resistance, but hopefully we are avoiding violence in the future,” he said.

“I would encourage people to step into their courage and do the right thing and do the most you can in whatever way it is to have a safe planet and rebel against this government,” he said.

The protest comes ahead of a week of action from March 22 to March 28 across Melbourne’s CBD.

The planned week of “nonviolent civil disobedience” involves several events, including camping in Carlton Gardens, swarming the city, rebel rides and “disco-bedience”.