(AFP) – 2 hours ago
SYDNEY — A lone protester paralyzed rush-hour traffic in Australia’s largest city for hours Friday by scaling the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and forcing the closure of the country’s busiest roadway.
The man, who said he was “ex-military”, evaded extensive security precautions to climb the bridge at dawn and hang two banners in a protest apparently linked to a custody dispute over his children.
The stunt forced the closure of the bridge that links north Sydney with the downtown area for around two hours, causing massive back-ups and leaving thousands of motorists and train and bus commuters stranded. ….
“If I have to stuff four million people around for one morning and that gets my kids and other kids help one day sooner, I have achieved my goal,” he said before rappelling down onto the roadway to be arrested by waiting police.
“Stuffing” four million people around. Goal achieved!
Getting more contact with your kids. Goal not so much achieved as hindered, I’m guessing.
More on the protestor here. He’s apparently a “bikie” – the Australian version of a biker – and “was almost killed during an alleged bikie shootout last year.”
UPDATE: As a result of this, the protester, Michael Fox has, not surprisingly, been ordered to not contact his ex-wife or family members.
And here’s an interesting detail from the coverage:
He left a note in his car, warning police to close the bridge and not to try to bring him down by force. “If anyone attempts to climb the upper arch of the bridge during my protest, the consequences will be fatal. Do what I ask and this will start and end peacefully,” it said. “You’ve taken my kids, I’ve taken your bridge.”
Generally speaking, nonviolent protestors don’t threaten “fatal consequences” for those who try to arrest them.
UPDATE 2: Another odd detail:
He last saw [his kids] almost 70 days ago, soon after a home owned by him was engulfed by fire. His estranged wife and one young daughter were sleeping inside. Both escaped the blaze.