Sunday 26 January 2020

Girl whose house burned down threatened with arrest in climate protest at PM's home

Protest: Police disperse people during a climate protest outside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s official residence in Sydney. Photo: WENDELL TEODORO/AFP via Getty Images
Protest: Police disperse people during a climate protest outside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s official residence in Sydney. Photo: WENDELL TEODORO/AFP via Getty Images

Giovanni Torre in Perth

A 10-year-old girl whose home was destroyed in Australia's bushfire crisis was among a group threatened with arrest at a protest outside prime minister Scott Morrison's home yesterday.

The demonstration outside Kirribilli House in Sydney took place as anger grows over government handling of climate change amid the fire crisis and heatwave engulfing the country.

The girl, known as Izzy, was there with her parents and cried after being confronted by the police. The incident was captured in a video that has gone viral.

Michael McCormack, the deputy prime minister, later confirmed Mr Morrison was out of the country, believed to be on holiday.

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The record average maximum temperature of 40.9C set on Tuesday was broken in 24 hours, with a national average of 41.9C recorded the next day.

Ten protesters were arrested at Mr Morrison's Sydney home, including the New South Wales Greens MP David Shoebridge.

"It's about time that politicians got away from the special interests that trap them in parliament and got out and engaged with the community to fight climate change," Mr Shoebridge said after his release.

He will face court on January 16 for allegedly failing to comply with a police order to move on. The protesters had vowed to camp outside the prime minister's official residence until he returned.

It is rumoured Mr Morrison is in Hawaii, which his office denies.

At the demonstration, a police officer read the 10-year-old girl her rights, saying: "I warn you that should you fail to comply with my direction, you may be arrested. Force may be used," he said. "Do you understand, Izzy?"

"Yes," she replied.

The girl moved away from the house with her father, but later said they were doing nothing wrong and the police were "cowards".

"Scott Morrison isn't even here to say anything. He's escaped the country," she said.

While demonstrators were arrested outside Kirribilli House, on the outskirts of the city at least 20 homes were destroyed by fire.

A maximum temperature of 42.4C was recorded at Sydney airport, and the hot dry weather has made the job of tackling more than 100 fires even harder for more than 2,000 firefighters deployed in New South Wales alone. Fifty of those fires are still uncontained, and smoke has blanketed Sydney.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service confirmed two volunteer firefighters died in an accident near Buxton, in south-west Sydney.

In a statement it said: "[The] vehicle hit a tree before rolling off the road. Another three firefighters have received injuries as a result of the accident." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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