Climate change protester interrupts Q&A panel. Picture: Q&A/ABC
Climate change protester interrupts Q&A panel. Picture: Q&A/ABC

Protester shouts down Q&A panel

A climate change protester interrupted ABC's Q&A tonight, when he jumped up from the crowd and confronted the panel.

Last night's show was filmed in Perth and the panel consisted of political editor for The West Australian, Lanai Scarr, people's panellist Dylan Storer, Human Rights lawyer Hannah McGlade, Labor member for Cowan Anne Aly and WA State Liberal MP Zak Kirkup.

Host Tony Jones had just thrown to audience member Ryan Small to put a question to the panel when the incident occurred.

Before Mr Small could speak, a man sitting a couple of rows behind him shot up from his chair and started speaking.

He was wearing a shirt that featured the logo for the climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion.

He interrupted an audience member before they could ask their question. Picture: Q&A/ABC
He interrupted an audience member before they could ask their question. Picture: Q&A/ABC

"Thanks Tony for coming across to Western Australia, we really appreciate you coming over here," he said.

Groans rang out from the audience as Jones quickly interrupted and cut him off.

"OK that is not Ryan. You are not here asking a question. You have just jumped up interrupting the questioner," Jones said.

"So please if you wouldn't mind, just sit down."

Despite being interrupted by Jones, the man continued to speak, at one point mentioning "religious freedom" before being drowned out again.

"There is no microphone on you. No one can hear you. It's pointless," Jones said.

 

Tony Jones told the man to sit down and that no one could hear him so his interruption was ‘pointless’. Picture: Q&A/ABC
Tony Jones told the man to sit down and that no one could hear him so his interruption was ‘pointless’. Picture: Q&A/ABC

However, neither Jones nor the irritated audience members seemed to deter the protester.

He was heard mentioning the "fire chiefs" and "climate change" before Jones told him once again no one could hear him.

"It is pointless. It's pointless. We can't hear you. There's no microphone," he said.

The situation got even more heated when security attempted to usher the man out of the venue.

The protester told security not to touch him and claimed they were hurting him, a statement that was met with more groans from the audience.

"You are hurting me. Let me go!" he yelled.

The man claimed security was hurting him as they removed him from the room. Picture: Q&A/ABC
The man claimed security was hurting him as they removed him from the room. Picture: Q&A/ABC

Jones attempted to get the show back on track by asking the original audience member to go ahead and ask his question.

As Mr Small asked his question the man could be heard continually yelling in the background as he was escorted out by security.

The interruption didn't go unnoticed by viewers, with multiple people posting to social media after the event.

"Oh Perth people! A shouty protester interrupts @QandA and has to be booted out," one Twitter user said.

"Has #qanda just banished a protester?" another asked

One person said he was in the audience and witnessed the event.

"Some tool from Extinction Rebellion tried to hijack someone else's question. Claimed Security was hurting him (wasn't at all, barely gripped his arms while he was already stood up). And was raving like a loon," he wrote.

Another person claimed they didn't get to ask their question because of the incident.

The Extinction Rebellion is a global protest movement that uses "nonviolent civil disobedience" to push governments to take action on climate change.

In the past few months the Australian members of the group have held multiple protests that involve causing chaos in major cities by blocking traffic, gluing themselves to roads and staging "die ins".



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