An active metal exploration company worker claims anti mining activists intimidated him simply for attending an industry event on October 30.
Pioneer Resources chairman Craig Ian McGown revealed protestors pushed him on the way to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) and followed him for 40 metres while shouting “shame”.
Although McGown tried to avoid any confrontation the activist still emptied a water bottle onto his work clothes.
“I’m just in attendance at the conference because my company is involved in major projects that can help the country move forward,” McGown told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). “I’m just very confused by people having too much time off.”
7000 workers targeted
This is no isolated incident as Extinction Rebellion Victoria, Blockade IMARC and other activist groups try to prevent more than 7000 delegates from attending one of the nation’s biggest annual industry events at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, between October 28 and 31.
Protestors are reported to be blocking several entrances to the building by linking their arms to create a human barrier. Several of them showed little regard for the handicapped by blocking the disabled and wheelchair access to the building according to AAP.
Over 20 arrests
Victoria Police ordered the group to move on but they refused, forcing officers to arrest more than 20 activists who violently clashed with police and either ended up in a headlock or doused in capsicum spray before finally being taken into custody.
A further two demonstrators were arrested for assaulting a police horse while one officer suffered minor injuries while making the arrests and had to be transported to a nearby hospital.
“Police continue to arrest protesters blocking access to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Exact arrest numbers will be provided when we have them,” a police spokeswoman told AAP.
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‘Mining is very important’
Conference organiser Beacon Events asked activists to refrain from intimidating people arriving at the venue.
“Mining is very important to the global economy and it is very important to Australia. I am happy for everyone to have their views but let’s try to do it in a peaceful and respectful manner,” Beacon CEO Daniel Kirwin told the Seven Network.
‘Ruin their day’
Outside protestors chanted “no rights for mining rights, shut IMARC down”.
Several of them appeared in a Facebook video, encouraging others to join the blockade to “ruin their day” and “shut down this evil conference”.
“These are the worst people in the world that are responsible for absolute environmental catastrophes, Indigenous displacement and just horrible treatment of land, animals and humans,” one woman said.
Blockade IMARC dismissed media reports that it is accusing mine workers of being climate criminals.
“We don’t think mining workers are criminals, we said the ‘mining executive attendees’ at IMARC are criminals,” the group said on Facebook. “We want a just transition for mining workers into unionised jobs in sustainable industries.”