Extinction Rebellion (XR) are claiming that a 20 year old environmental activist was held in custody for four days without legal support after a protest last Thursday.
Extinction Rebellion SEQ spokesperson Clancey Maher said the Brisbane courts refused to release Sergio Herbert who was fined $400 on Friday for failure to comply with a police direction.
‘Friends of Sergio, who is a member of Extinction Rebellion SEQ, tried to pay the fine on his behalf but the court refused to accept the fine and Sergio has been held in custody.
‘He was already held in custody for two days and we were told he would not be released until Sunday,’ she said. ‘In the brief hearing on Friday it emerged that Sergio was not made aware of the charges he was facing until he arrived at court, he was not offered bail and was denied attempts to get support from a lawyer.’
Sergio had been arrested twice in the previous weeks as Extinction Rebellion has been stepping up their efforts to get serious action on the climate crisis. ‘Sergio is a young man scared for his physical future,’ said Ms Clancey. ‘He is non-violently, peacefully standing up for all our futures.’
On Thursday Sergio participated in civil disobedience with Extinction Rebellion to try and bring strong action on the climate crisis. ‘Permafrost is melting 70 years faster than predicted,’ he said. ‘Icecaps are melting faster than predicted and my physical future is at risk. When will our society take this seriously?’
On recent traffic disruptions in the CBD that Sergio has been involved in, Clancey said disrupting traffic and being placed in custody is the last thing Sergio or anyone wants to be doing. ‘Political leaders have failed for decades to protect our future and we have to do it ourselves now, any way we can. A breakthrough report published in early June endorsed by former chief of the Australian Defence Force Admiral Chris Barrie*, suggests human civilisation might collapse by 2050 due to the climate crisis.
‘Without serious disruptive push-back from the people, our political leaders will continue to drive us down the road to climate chaos.
‘Right now the police and government are proving that they are not taking the climate threat seriously and worse are severely punishing those like Sergio who are standing up for our future.
‘Disruptions will continue and increase until this society steps up and faces scientific reality.’
After his release Sergio said police and court behaviour is becoming draconian. ‘I am willing to go to gaol, however I should not be in the position I am which gives me no other option. We all have to stand up for our safe future, we need people to take this seriously. Civil disobedience is all we have left. Fill the streets, fill the prisons, save our lives.’
Sergio plans to be part of the Extinction Rebellion’s swarming of Brisbane CBD this week and is calling on everyone to join him. ‘Until our future is secured, I won’t stop.’
* The report can be viewed here: https://www.breakthroughonline.org.au/papers)