Three charged after climate activist Deanna ‘Violet’ Coco and others block traffic on Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge | Victoria

Three people have been charged after climate activist Deanna “Violet” Coco and others allegedly used a truck to cause traffic chaos on Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge.

Extinction Rebellion members allegedly parked the truck across three city-bound lanes on the bridge at about 7.45am on Tuesday. They then climbed on top the vehicle and unfurled banners reading “declare a climate emergency” and “climate breakdown has begun”.

Victoria police used a cherrypicker to make the arrests and lower the trio down safely at 9.45am after they allegedly refused to climbed off the truck.

“A 33-year-old NSW woman, a 68-year-old Burnside Heights man and a 51-year-old Williamstown man have been charged with public nuisance, hinder police, obstruct police and obstruction of a roadway,” police said in a statement.

No one was injured during the incident.

All inbound lanes had reopened by 10.15am, but VicTraffic warned significant delays remained on the West Gate and Princes freeways, M80 Ring Road and the surrounding area on Tuesday morning.

Traffic had earlier stretched back for up to 30km, while roads in Yarraville, Footscray and West Melbourne were also affected by the congestion.

Police alleged the group also lit a flare when on the truck.

Three city-bound lanes were blocked by a truck on Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge during a climate protest on Tuesday morning. Photograph: VicRoads

Coco was filmed at the protest calling for government action on climate change.

“This is a climate and ecological emergency and our actions every day impact the habitability of our planet for ourselves and for generations to come,” Coco said in a video posted to the group’s Facebook page.

“We’re extremely committed to non-violent direct action, but we are committed to sounding the alarm on the climate and ecological emergency.

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“We are asking the government and all levels of society to declare an ecological emergency and to act on that emergency as soon as possible.”

Extinction Rebellion describes itself as a non-partisan movement that uses non-violent action to demand governments take action on climate change.

Its previous demonstrations have included dozens of people blocking the Montague Street off-ramp during peak hour and a man climbing the spire of the Arts Centre Melbourne last year.

Coco was joined on the West Gate Bridge by Brad Homewood and Joe Zammit, according to the group.

Extinction Rebellion said in a social media post the protest was designed to coincide with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Melbourne.

It wants Australia to declare a climate and ecological emergency at the conference and is calling on other Asean leaders to do the same.

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