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    Police Had To Physically Carry These Climate Protesters Out Of Parliament

    Dozens of people staged a sit-in to coincide with the Paris climate talks.

    by ,

    Police and security guards dragged away dozens of protesters from the marble foyer of Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday after they staged a mass sit-in.

    Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

    They were calling on political leaders to act on climate change during the COP21 talks in Paris.

    The "People's Parliament" protest, which was organised by activist group 350 Australia, was attended by 300 people from different communities, to highlight the idea that climate change was a concern to everyday Australians.

    Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

    They included students, grandparents, farmers, religious leaders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and members of the Pacific Island communities under threat from climate change.

    Politicians from the Greens party also joined in, linking arms with protesters and sitting on the floor.

    Here with @janet_rice @SenatorLudlam @RichardDiNatale @SenatorSurfer #COP21 #peoplesparliament

    "This is inspirational," said Greens leader Richard Di Natale. "I'll be taking these voices to Paris next week to tell the world that Australia wants action on climate change and they want it now."

    Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull returned from the Paris climate talks on Tuesday, where he committed Australia to the second stage of the Kyoto Protocol.

    Ella Pallegrini / AAPIMAGE

    But Turnbull rejected the pledge to stop fossil fuel subsidies after intense lobbying from the mining industry and the Nationals.

    He also pledged $100 billion for Pacific islands to battle climate change, but the money has actually just been re-directed from the existing foreign aid budget.

    The activists sang the protest song 'We Shall Not Be Moved" as security guards removed them from the foyer.
    Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE
    Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

    When protesters refused to move, Australian Federal Police carried them outside.

    Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

    "What gives you the right to tell me to leave my country?" demanded Aboriginal elder Aunty Mabel of the Bailai people.

    Aunty Mable demanding AFP tell her what right they have to take her off her lands

    The protest continued at the entrance to Parliament House, where protesters heard speeches, including from Tongan-Australian climate activist Joseph-Zane Sikulu and a coal worker calling for a just transition to clean energy.

    "With our leaders in Paris at the moment we need to have our stories heard now," Joseph-Zane Sikulu told BuzzFeed News.

    He spoke about the devastation of the king tides in February, that washed through the remote Pacific island of Kiribati.

    "90% of Kiribati is under five metres high and the king tides reached a max of three metres," he said. "There's just nowhere for them to go."

    "Our coordinator in Kiribati told us that he gathered his family in the living room, took some rope, tied them together and they prayed, because if the waves took them away they would go together."

    Sikulu said that he was bitterly disappointed at Australia's commitment at COP21 so far.

    "We're so, so disappointed," he said. "They're going to decide whats being put in place for the next twenty years and in the first meeting they committed to practically nothing."

    One of the last people to leave was this 92-year-old WWII veteran Bill Ryan, who proved that you're never too old to fight the man.

    The final protestor escorted from the #peoplesparliament. #COP21

    Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Mark Di Stefano at

    Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

    Contact Alex Lee at

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