Thousands of protestors are gathering today in Melbourne to pressure the government into taking strong action on climate change. The rally is expected to cause major disruptions to commuters across the city.

The demonstration will begin at Victoria's Parliament House with speeches. Attendees will then march to the intersection of Bourke and Swanston streets, where they will lie down for a "die-in" just after 1pm.

“A march will proceed throughout Melbourne city, followed by a mass ‘die-in’ where demonstrators lie ‘dead’ on the ground, acting as physical reminders of Earth’s sixth mass extinction, which scientists have attributed to climate change,” says organiser Extinction Rebellion in a statement.

The group is also responsible for similar protests in London, which ran for more than a week and resulted in 1065 arrests. In addition to staging a “die-in” at the Natural History Museum, protestors glued themselves to public fixtures.

Victoria Police has planned a larger than normal police presence in response to the protest. A number of traffic-management points will be in place: Bourke, Swanston, Collins and Flinders streets will be affected at various times from approximately 12pm until 3pm.

“Individuals have the right to lawfully attend events and protest, however we ask that people do so peacefully and respectfully without impacting on the rest of the community. Victoria Police will not tolerate those who break the law or engage in antisocial or violent behaviour,” a Victoria Police representative said in a statement to Broadsheet.

Extinction Rebellion is demanding the government declares a climate emergency, authorises the creation of a citizens assembly to lead the response, and acts immediately to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.