Vegan protesters charged after stopping traffic in Melbourne

Vegan activists protesting against abattoirs have been charged, after blocking traffic at a major intersection in Melbourne.

The 39 protesters could face imprisonment, police say, for obstructing the roads at the Flinders St and Swanston St intersection on Monday morning, and resisting police.

The protesters held signs emblazoned with slogans such as "This is a peaceful protest" and "SOS animal emergency climate", and some chained themselves to vans parked on tram tracks at the Australian city's busy intersection.

Police hauled away the protesters - who included two 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old - and tow trucks removed three vans.

Flinders Street was reopened about 10.30am. Many of the protesters moved on to chain themselves up at the Sealife Aquarium.

The protest was part of a global movement calling for an end to slaughterhouses, and comes after hundreds of animal rights activists rallied on Saturday outside Queen Victoria Market, also in Melbourne.