Delegates attending the three-day International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre have been targeted by protestors, with some delegates being spat on.
Chanting “how do you sleep at night, no respect for human rights,” the protestors have tried to prevent delegates from entering the convention centre, with some delegates being spat on, isolated from their group and taken to the ground, according to a reports from 9news.com.au.
One police officer has been taken to hospital after being shoved to the ground and being knocked unconscious. To date two people have been injured and 20 protestors arrested, but that figure may be much higher by the day’s end with fights breaking out between police and protestors on an ongoing basis.
The activists from 11 different groups have tried to block off the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from about 6am this morning.
Protest organiser Emma Black she was shocked by “how aggressive” the police have been.
“We condemn the violence of the police but we’ve come into this with the clear principle of being non violent,” she told 3AW.
“We are here to non violently and peacefully exercise our right to protest and so far all we’ve seen is violence from the police.”
More than 7000 delegates from about 100 countries are attending the three-day conference.
The organisers say the protestors are misinformed about the mining industry.
“There is a misconception that as an industry mining does not operate with sustainable principles in mind,” they said in a statement.
Victorian Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam and federal Greens MP Adam Bandt are scheduled to join the protestors over the coming days.