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Police use bolt cutters to remove protesters from Dunedin coal conference

Police are using force, including cutting chains with bold cutters, to remove protesters fighting against the coal mining industry in Dunedin today.

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Environmental groups are disrupting the first day of the Minerals Forum held at the Dunedin Centre. Source: 1 NEWS

Environmental groups are disrupting the first day of the Minerals Forum held at the Dunedin Centre. The Forum, which runs today and tomorrow, is a platform for delegates to discuss the coal industry's expansion plans.

Police arrested three people for breaching the peace, following clashes with protesters. 

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The action against coal mining and climate change saw chaotic clashes with police. Source: 1 NEWS

Stop the Minerals Forum Coalition said in a statement yesterday they would "non-violently" protest, and are today blocking entrances to the Dunedin Town Hall for the forum. Protesters are coming up against delegates - trying to stop them going in.

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Environmental groups are disrupting the first day of the Minerals Forum held at the Dunedin Centre. Source: 1 NEWS

"They want more polluting coal mines, which will lead to more emissions and more climate breakdown," Stop the Minerals Forum Coalition spokeswoman Abby Spilg-Harris said.

"If we are serious about a zero-emissions future, the Forum should instead be a platform for phasing out coal and the other polluting industries represented there.

"The industry is trying to push coal as a vital and long-term player in our economy. It's not. There are low-emission alternatives, and indeed new jobs are to be had in the transition to a zero-emissions future."

More than 1000 school students chanted, sang and spoke about the threat of climate change in their lifetime in Dunedin's Octagon on Friday.

"For their sakes we cannot allow coal expansion in Aotearoa," Ms Spilg-Harris said. "Business as usual is not an option. We need resilience, not coal. It's that simple."