Meet the people behind the mining protests

A truck driver, a retired teacher, a medical student, a disability support worker, a sex education liaison and a self employed business consultant: this is the diverse cross section of climate protesters who have spent several days blockading a mining conference in Melbourne.

Despite the group ranging in age, gender, career and political allegiance, they share a love for the environment and the desire for a sustainable future.

Some of them identify as climate change activists, some are anti-Adani coal mine, others want to free West Papua and others are there to champion Aboriginal rights.

Many of them have taken time off from work and university to attend the protest.




Michael Cahill, 61, Williamstown

Self employed business consultant

"I am against Adani, to destroy a precious water source for coal mining is a total waste of government resources."

Michael Cahill, 61, Williamstown.
Michael Cahill, 61, Williamstown.


Adiam Beyin, 22, Tarneit

International Relations student at ACU

"I am campaigning against blood mining in Eritrea. Australian companies are using forced labour. It is an extremely brutal government, it has indefinite national service from the age of 16. Mining companies usually use forced labour, that's what I'm protesting against."


Debbie Brennan, 70, Coburg

Retired teacher, from the Freedom Socialist Party

"I'm here because of the immediate and extreme danger of climate change. To not only protest but to bring down the capitalist system that these mining giants benefit from."

Debbie Brennan, 70, Coburg.
Debbie Brennan, 70, Coburg.


Linda Marks, 68, Thornbury

Recently retired secondary school teacher

"We need to mine, mining companies are mining for profit, more than what we need. They say they are mining responsible but that is not true."


Sonja Traynor, 21, Ringwood

Retail worker

"I feel like if I don't do anything, when my grandkids ask what did giraffes look like, I'll feel so guilty. How could I just sit back and let our planet get destroyed, without trying."


Sonja Traynor, 21, Ringwood.
Sonja Traynor, 21, Ringwood.


Amy Brewster, 21, Kew East


"There's nothing more important I could be doing today, something needs to be done."


Kelsey Bock, 22, Box Hill

Journalism/Politics student at Swinburne University

"Mining is destroying the land and indigenous people's land. The government is not listening. Capitalism is ruining everything. We've got a climate crisis and we need to stop all of this."


James Finn, 18, South Morang

Part-time fruit shop worker

"I just think it's important to make a statement, it's almost a moral obligation for anyone who considers themselves a decent person, to stand up to climate change."


Jessie Lu, 21, Mildura

Medical student at Monash University, part time receptionist

"I don't believe these people should be conducting this type of business on this land. This sort of protest is to get them to think about it and try to do things in an slightly more ethical way."


Jessie Lu, 21, Mildura.
Jessie Lu, 21, Mildura.


Jan Davis, 71, Hunter Valley NSW

Retired health worker

"We live in coal country, we've seen the damage to communities and people's health, for example I have breathing difficulties. Young children have a high rate of asthma, people are dying years earlier than they should."


Jayden Trask, 20, Clayton

International Relations and Japanese Student at Monash University. Is on a Centrelink/government grant

"I'm here to disrupt the fossil fuel conference and I think it's really important because we're facing a climate catastrophe."


Liam Parry, 27, Darwin

International Studies Student at RMIT, lives off savings from previous work & student allowance

"There's a climate crisis going on that no one's talking about. This should be front page news everyday."


Liam Parry, 27, Darwin.
Liam Parry, 27, Darwin.



Annie Ray, 27, Preston

Disability Support Worker

"The continued exploitation of the environment is both causing climate chaos and displacing communities all around the world - especially Latin America & Asia. They're killing people, indigenous people, activists.


Mitch Both 23, Coburg

Student at Monash University and Fast food worker

"I think it's incumbent on us to put up opposition to the way the society is being run. Mining companies in particular. In Australia we have a responsibility to challenge them."


Lucho Riquerlme, 56, Sunshine


"In the last 4-5 years we are protesting against international companies because they are doing a lot of devastation in Latin America. They are displacing all the communities, killing children.


Chanelle Rogers, 28, Parkville

Performance Artist & Sex Education liaison

"I consider being here a civil duty for all lower classes far more affected by this climate injustice to show solidarity against higher bodies of power who are completely responsible for the destruction of our planet."


Vanessa Sarvanakis, 19, Melbourne

Visual Arts Student at Swinburne University and Chemist Warehouse employee

"I'm here to support IMARC. I find 'why' quite a rhetorical question. The police brutality (today) it's disgraceful, terrible, unnecessary."


Larry Dowling, 48, Coburg.
Larry Dowling, 48, Coburg.


Larry Dowling, 48, Coburg

Truck Driver

"I'm here sending a message to the leaders of this country … to the mining bosses that we're not going to let them destroy our planet. It's our children's home."


Tim Uren, 29, Southbank


"It was brutal. Two activists climbed up and when they got back down that's when everything started. We had about 30 protesters were sprayed with mase. I was almost sprayed with mase and I was already sprayed earlier."


Charlie Autumn, 25, Carlton

IT worker

"I believe that we're in quite a serious climate emergency. I think some of the companies represented at this protests are some of the worst criminals around. I'm here saying that this is not okay."

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