Four people have been charged after a protest on Victoria Bridge this morning, where a woman from Extinction Rebellion suspended herself from a makeshift tripod on Brisbane’s Victoria Bridge blocking peak-hour traffic again.
Police were called to attend and pedestrian and traffic access was disrupted in both directions.
Officers secured the three-legged bamboo structure, which was tied together with rope, and spoke with the woman about cutting the tripod down.
The protester — 22-year-old Sophie Thompson — was suspended 10 metres above the ground and had been broadcasting the event live on Facebook for about 40 minutes.
Several passers-by gathered on the bridge to watch the ordeal — some congratulating Ms Thompson while others criticised the move.
Police said Ms Thompson allegedly refused to lower herself down, but after negotiation came down voluntarily.
“I’d rather come down than you cut the legs [of the tripod],” she said on the Facebook video.
“Thank you everyone for the support. Ok I’m coming down.”
Officers took Ms Thompson into custody and she was charged with one count each of commit public nuisance, pedestrian causing an obstruction and obstructing a police officer.
Ms Thompson appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court and was fined $1,050.
She pleaded guilty to one charge of causing an obstruction as a pedestrian, and obstructing a police officer.
She was fined $300 and $750 respectively, with a conviction recorded only for the first offence.
Prosecutors dropped a further charge against her of committing public nuisance.
Dressed in purple hospital maternity scrubs, Ms Thompson pleaded guilty to one charge of causing an obstruction as a pedestrian, and obstructing a police officer.
Outside court, the climate activist admitted she came from a privileged background and was enjoying her career as a midwife.
She said she would maintain her registration.
“It was a really hard decision because I really loved midwifery but me sacrificing my career is nothing compared to people [who] are experiencing the forefront of climate change,” she said.
“As a midwife, I think it is my ethical responsibility to stand up because it is my duty to ensure the safe passage of life into this world and that includes having a safe liveable climate.”
A 28-year-old Brisbane man was also charged with one count of pedestrian causing an obstruction and is due to appear in court on October 16.
Meanwhile, two other people aged 20 and 22 from New South Wales have been charged with one count each of pedestrian causing a traffic hazard or obstruction by moving into the path of a driver.
An Extinction Rebellion representative who spoke after Ms Thompson was taken by police said she was a midwife who quit “because she believed she could save more lives” taking action with the environmentalist group.
The spokesperson refused to disclose the logistics behind the set up of the peak-hour protest but warned Brisbane should expect “more extreme” non-violent acts in coming weeks.
On Sunday night Extinction Rebellion used a projector to post slogans onto the sides of buildings in South Brisbane.
It comes ahead of International Rebellion Week beginning on October 7.
It’s not the first time a protester has blocked traffic by suspending themselves over the river.
Another Extinction Rebellion protester suspended himself from rope off the William Jolly Bridge in August.
He was arrested and charged, and plans to plead not guilty among several other climate change protesters, arguing the “extraordinary emergency” defence.