Sydney CBD climate protest attracts thousands

Thousands of protesters rallied in front of Sydney Town Hall calling for action on climate change. CREDIT: RHETT WYMAN. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SYDNEY, Jan 10, 2020, The Sydney Morning Herald. Thousands of protesters brushed off hot and humid conditions to voice their displeasure at the government’s handling of the bushfire crisis and their attitude towards climate change. The event at Town Hall in Sydney’s CBD was set up a few weeks ago by Uni Students for Climate Justice, in conjunction with Extinction Rebellion, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Organisers are hoping for a larger crowd than at the early December protests, which attracted roughly 20,000 to the same location.

Protesters chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho ScoMo has got to go” as speakers climbed Town Hall’s side steps.

Izzy Raj-Seppings, 13, waited to address the crowd.

She was given a move-on order by police while protesting outside Kirribilli House last September. Her hope is that Friday’s protest will create change.

“[I hope] it attracts a lot of attention gets our Prime Minister to move and start thinking about change from fossil fuels to renewables,” she said.

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi addressed the crowd.

“I stand in front of you today bloody angry,” she said. “I don’t think I have ever been this angry in my life.”

She said she was determined to do whatever it took to turn the “climate crisis” around.

“Leadership is totally lacking in our Prime Minister and this government,” she said.

“Scott Morrison and his government are cowardly. They are dishonest. They are completely incompetent. They have behaved like climate criminals. And they are led by Scotty From Marketing.”

Senator Faruqi used a disparaging nickname for Mr Morrison, referring to his time at Tourism Australia.

She said a royal commission into bushfires was just the start, and that climate activists needed to be bolder and more radical in the future.

“Out of control bushfires are sweeping across the state – destroying thousands of hectares, houses, and lives,” the event description said on Facebook.

“These fires, heatwaves, and droughts are not just unprecedented – they’re the direct result of decades of climate destruction at the hands of fossil fuel loving politicians.

“The climate crisis has compounded hundreds of years of land mismanagement since invasion and decades of profiteering on water which has left much of the country in drought.”

Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald. Janek Drevikovsky is an intern journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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