Eco-warrior scales Opera House

Environmental protesters, including Byron Bay activist Emma Briggs, hung a banner from the iconic Sydney Opera House on Tuesday.
Environmental protesters, including Byron Bay activist Emma Briggs, hung a banner from the iconic Sydney Opera House on Tuesday. AAP

BYRON Bay activist Emma Briggs was one of five protesters arrested and charged after scaling Sydney’s Opera House and unfurling a climate change protest banner early yesterday.

The protesters – three women and two men – were all Greenpeace members who, according to Greenpeace chief executive officer Linda Selvey, were well trained and equipped to carry out the daring stunt.

The banner, which was removed a short time later by police, read ‘Stop The Politics, Climate Treaty Now’, calling on world leaders to deliver a legally binding treaty at the Copenhagen climate summit.

Briggs, 40, and her cohorts were each charged with one count of trespass and will appear at the Downing Centre Local Court in February.

Ms Selvey said Greenpeace would defend the protesters.

“Absolutely. They were representing us,” she said.

“They were well trained and did their job well and didn’t do any damage or anything, and they behaved well with police so we’revery proud.

“They were great advertisements for Greenpeace and our non-violent approach.”

Ms Selvey hopes the protest gets through to politicians in Copenhagen.

“Australians have made it clear that we want strongaction taken in Copenhagen,” she said.

“Greenpeace is taking this message to world leaders and demanding they come home with nothing less than a legally-binding treaty that safeguards our future.

“We are fed up with this critical issue being reduced to political pantomime, both in Australia and on the world stage.

“Climate change threatens all that Australians hold dear, from the Great Barrier Reef to the millions of homes on our coastline. We cannot afford to let this critical meeting end in more empty political statements.

“It is time for Australia to step up to the mark. At Copenhagen it’s time for Kevin Rudd to stop the politics and establish himself as a leader.”

In 2004 peace activists Will Saunders and David Burgess were sentenced to nine months’ periodic detention for malicious damage after they painted the words ’No War’ on the Opera House, as Australia prepared to go to war in Iraq.

They were also ordered to pay $151,000 for the clean-up.

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