- More than 300,000 Australians from across the country gathered Friday as part of planned global climate protests, organisers say.
- Australia was one of the first countries to join the global Climate Strike protests, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to show up around the world.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Organisers say 300,000 Australians from across the country gathered Friday as part of the global Climate Strike protests planned around the world.
Students, teachers, activists, and people from all walks of life came together for the first rounds of protests in the Southern Hemisphere kickoff. The Friday protests were started by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who protested outside the Swedish parliament.
In capital cities around Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, and Hobart, people prepared signs and chanted slogans in favour of swift climate action. Hundreds of thousands of protesters were expected across the country, with businesses encouraging their staff to take time off to attend.
School Strike 4 Climate, the organisers of the event, estimate there were 100,000 people in Melbourne, 80,000 in Sydney, 30,000 in Brisbane, 20,000 in Adelaide, 20,000 in Hobart, 15,000 in Canberra, and 10,000 in Perth. Students and workers in more than 110 cities and towns across the country also held smaller rallies.
The movement is led by the youth, who were out in force at the protests and spoke with Business Insider about their motives for protesting.
“I want to ensure a better world for myself and my future kids,” Steffanie Tan, 22, of Melbourne, said. “If we don’t stand up to our government now, then we might not have a future to look forward to.”
A student named Kate McNess, 17, said, “It’s an important issue and it’s our future.” While, another 17-year-old student, Nishtha Sharma, said it was the only way she knew how to speak up. “This is basically the only way to have our voice heard,” she said.
Organisers say the goal of Australia’s strike was to ask the federal government to commit to:
- No new coal, oil, and gas projects, including the Adani mine.
- One-hundred per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030.
- Funding transitions and job creation for all fossil-fuel industry workers & communities.
Scroll through to see photos of the crowds and signs from protests around the country.
Organisers say 80,000 people gathered at The Domain in Sydney.
Many used humour in their signs to get their point across.
Some used memes.
Others made popular-culture references to make a point.
A few mentioned the melting polar ice caps.
Other protesters shared their fears for the future in their signs.
Or channeled songs that the younger protesters may not even recognise.
Sometimes all you need is three letters: O No.
There were many signs insulting Australia’s conservative prime minister, Scott Morrison.
And many truths were spoken.
Others paid their respects to Thunberg.
Students were at the centre of the protest.
And so were kids.
It was hard to avoid the reality of what happens for the next generation.
In Brisbane, organisers estimated that 30,000 protesters marched across the Victoria Bridge.
— Jeff Gyte (@JeffGyte) September 20, 2019
Queens Gardens became so overcrowded that people began spilling into the street.
— Ben Smee (@BenSmee) September 20, 2019
The crowd drew people young and old.
Organisers say Hobart drew the most people of any rally in its history.
— Phoebe Hosier (@HosierPhoebe) September 20, 2019
Melbourne drew the most people, organisers say, with more than 100,000 people estimated to have taken to the Old Treasury Building.
“These pants took me nine hours,” said Emma Ocic, 17. “I’m studying fashion and want to become a completely sustainable designer one day.”
“The air is toxic, the reef is dying,” she said. “A lot of people my age are waking up.”
Some young protesters dressed up as the Dr. Seuss character the Lorax.
One brave protester climbed on top of a statue and put a “Stop Adani” T-shirt over it.
Other kids made poignant statements.
And said it was up to Australians whether to do more to save the planet.
Not only for those living today but also for the generations ahead.
Australia came out in full force.
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