Waters of South Lawn bloodied in protest of University sponsorship of mining conference

24 October 2019

The waters of the South Lawn moat flowed crimson on Wednesday 23 October as protestors gathered in opposition to the University’s involvement in the upcoming International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC).

Led by the Red Brigade, members of UniMelb Extinction Rebellion marched around campus demanding that the University withdraw its sponsorship from IMARC before congregating at South Lawn for the main protest.

Protestors poured non-toxic red dye into the moat to signify what they believe to be “blood on [the] hands” of the University for sponsoring the event. They then stood in the South Lawn moat donning business suits and signs bearing the names of those taking part in the upcoming conference, including mining companies BHP and Rio Tinto, and the University of Melbourne.

After delivering a number of speeches to onlookers, the group continued their march to the Raymond Priestley Building, where they presented the Vice-Chancellors’ office with a petition demanding the University’s withdrawal from the Conference.

According to protestors, IMARC is “Australia’s largest gathering of climate criminals” and the University’s involvement in the conference is “funding the destruction of the planet”.

When asked for comment in regard to the protest, a University spokesperson redirected Farrago to a statement about a similar action made in August of this year:

“The University supports the event so it can raise awareness about our partnerships in the mining sector and demonstrate how we can work together to reduce the impact of mining on the environment. This includes research into how to take the mining industry into the digital world and improve efficiencies and make mining safer and more sustainable.”

The protestors will join a larger blockade outside IMARC next week, which runs from 28-31 October.

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