Luxury cars parked on streets in one of Melbourne's wealthiest suburbs have been targeted by climate protesters overnight, with the group claiming to have deflated "hundreds" of tyres on SUVs they have labelled "killer gas guzzlers".
Protest group Tyre Extinguishers took to the streets of ritzy Toorak, in the city's southeast, on Thursday night, where they deflated the tyres of SUVs and four-wheel-drives — "the second-largest cause of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade". Victoria Police said at least 10 4WD and sports utility vehicles in the vicinity of Tintern Avenue were tampered with
The "disarming" of vehicles is "the first action in a new wave of climate protest in Australia", according to a statement given to media today from the group's supporters. Leaving notes plastered to affected windscreens, the group attempted to justify their actions by claiming car owners were at fault and that "their consequences have actions".
'We know you'll be angry'
"We have deflated one or more of your tyres," the note, slapped on to the front of windscreens, said.
"You'll be angry, but just take a minute to think about why your car is a big problem. Car companies try to convince you that we need massive cars, but we don't. Driving around urban areas in your massive vehicle has huge consequences for others.
"SUVs and 4x4s are also a disaster for our climate. SUVs are the second-largest cause of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade — more than the entire aviation industry."
"Even if you don't care about the impacts on people far away from you," the note continued. "Perhaps think about the impacts around your neighbourhood. SUVs cause far more air pollution than smaller cars. SUVs are more likely to kill people than normal sedans in collisions."
Deflating the wheels of vehicles perceived to be owned by the wealthy is a move that's been seen before from climate extremists, particularly in the UK.
"Emergency action is needed to reduce emissions immediately," Tyre Extinguishers said further down on the note, adding that "millions are directly affected"
“That’s why we’ve temporarily stopped you driving your SUV," they said.
"Your tyre isn’t damaged and you will have no difficulty getting around without your gas guzzler. Maybe try walking, cycling or using public transport.”
Furious SUV owners slam activists
Online the protest was met with an outpouring of criticism by the owners of the vandalised vehicles, many of which posted photos of their wrecked tyres.
"Who do these people think they are going around and slashing people's tyres?" a woman wrote.
"That's absolutely terrible and disgusting behaviour!" another person commented, while a third simply deemed the act "dangerous".
"As a cyclist and environmental activist this is disgraceful and it does nothing more than damaging the image of any campaigning," someone else said.
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