Crowd rallies against Woodside in city protest

Fifty protestors from different groups gathered outside Woodside’s CBD headquarters this morning ahead of the company’s AGM, opposing a plan to expand gas through offshore facilities on WA’s west coast.

Extinction Rebellion, Friends of Australian Rock Art, School Strike 4 Climate, and others, are fighting Woodside’s Scarborough Offshore Project Proposal and its sponsorship of the Fringe World festival.

The Scarborough OPP was accepted in March 2020 after its initial submission in February 2019 – however, it requires significant investment in order to go ahead.

An 8m inflatable whale named Dale was also present to raise awareness about how Scarborough’s OPP will allegedly threaten endangered marine species. Photo: Zoe Ostler.

The CBD protest was monitored by Woodside security, rangers and police. Photos: Zoe Ostler.

Protestor Andy Grice says he was one of 30 arrested at the climate strikes in March this year. Video: Zoe Ostler.

Cars honked horns and flashed lights in support of the activists while driving past the intersection of Mount Street and St George’s Terrace.

Signs carried messages such as “Cooking the world with gas”, “Life or Woodside”, “Gas pollution is no solution.”

Protestors chanting outside Woodside headquarters. Video: Zoe Ostler.

People of all ages attended the rally organised by 350, a statewide volunteer network which aims to rapidly end the use of fossil fuels by building a climate change movement.

Information pamphlet given to people from the organisers 350.

Co-coordinator of 350 Rhiannon Hardwick called the event “Woodside Wednesdays” which will happen every second Wednesday until Woodside decides to abandon the Scarborough project.

Hardwick said 350 assists communities and groups who want to “take down the fossil fuel lobby”.

“We have been helping artists campaign to end Woodside’s sponsorship of Fringe World festival,” she said.

Artist and activist Noemie Huttner-Koros spoke to the rally and claimed Fringe World’s contract with artists compelled them “not do any act that would prejudice Fringe World’s ongoing sponsorship arrangements”.

Huttner-Koros speaking to activists about Fringe World’s contract with artists. Video: Zoe Ostler.

Judith Hugo from Friends of Australian Rock Art ran the Murujuga/Burrup Tour from 2007 to 2013 and 2020 was the only year she didn’t attend because of COVID-19.

Protestors believe Woodside’s plans to develop Burrup Hub will produce more gas emissions and put the world’s largest rock art gallery at risk.

Hugo said excessive emissions will damage the petroglyphs, prehistoric rock carvings, which are around 50,000 years old.

“I fear we won’t be able to go [on the tour] again,” she said.

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