Climate protestors caused commuter chaos in Sydney’s CBD during peak hour on Monday morning after taking to the streets in an unauthorised march.
Eleven of the protestors have since been arrested, including one woman who allegedly chained herself to the steering wheel of her car and blocked the Harbour Tunnel.
Watch footage of the protests in the video above
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The protestors were among a group of 50 to 60 activists who kicked off a week of planned disruption in Sydney.
Dramatic aerial vision also emerged during the protests of one vehicle appearing to ignore traffic controllers, and instead drive into protestors in the CBD. It is not known if anyone was injured.
In an update on Monday afternoon, NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan said the incident would be investigated and urged anyone with more information on the driver as well as the protesters to come forward.
He added there would be an increased presence of officers in the CBD throughout the week as a result of the protests.
“The behaviour of this group was nothing short of criminal activity,” Dunstan said.
Blockade Australia began its threatened protests “to cause disruption to the political and economic systems of Australia which are driving climate destruction”, with a group converging about 8am at Hyde Park.
The protesters marched towards the harbour, chanting, playing drums, pulling down signs, dragging wheelie bins onto the road and blocking intersections.
They were met with a large police presence, including officers on horses and in helicopters.
Protesters dispersed when police stopped them at the intersection of George and Bridge streets, blocking access to the Harbour Bridge.
Blockade Australia live-streamed video of a 22-year-old woman who parked a car at the northern entrance to the Harbour Tunnel, causing more disruption.
The tunnel was shut down about 8.15am when she blocked all city-bound lanes for about an hour.
All traffic was diverted via the Harbour Bridge and was backed up for several kilometres.
NSW Police said the woman put a bicycle lock around her neck and attached herself to the steering wheel before being removed from the car and arrested.
The group said the woman was from Lismore, the epicentre of unprecedented floods this year in northern NSW.
Police are out in force in the CBD and have a heavy presence on the Harbour Bridge after Blockade Australia last week flagged a resurgence in its activities, which previously shut down Port Botany, the Harbour Bridge and the Spit Bridge.
Blockade Australia said it would continue to cause disruptions all week.
“Disruption to the infrastructure of Australia’s project of exploitation is essential in cutting through the climate denial that this system survives off,” it said.
Olivia, a spokeswoman for the group, said Sydney had been where Australia’s destruction of the continent had been most intense.
“Our collective survival rests on organised opposition and the use of strategic direct action to stand against this project of destruction,” she said.
Protesters face a maximum penalty of two years’ jail and $22,000 fines for disrupting traffic or preventing access on roads under new laws.
The legislation also created new offences targeting people blocking access to major facilities such as ports and railways.
– With AAP