A huge crowd estimated at 25000 turned up at Town Hall in downtown Sydney today to protest against climate change inaction.
The rally was organised by school students from across Sydney and was part of a global series of protests.
Even though the rally was part of a student strike, people of all ages were in attendance and determined to make known their displeasure over political inaction against climate change.
Approximately 2000 rallyers gathered in Steyne Park at Double Bay in Sydney’s east to demand definitive action on climate change by Australia’s major political parties.
In Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth — and just around the headland from the PM’s own private residence in Point Piper — those assembled heard from a number of speakers who gave their own impressions on the effects of climate change generally, but also with a particular focus to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland.
The most recent El Nino weather pattern to hit Australia has resulted in about 22% of the reef being bleached white due to high water temperatures.
All speakers urged for bipartisan action on climate change, saying the stakes were too great for politics to get in the way of action now urgently needed.
The numbers were down on the first March In March rally of a year ago, but those that gathered at Sydney Town Hall were loud and vocal in their views.
As Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s popularity continues to fall, thousands took to the streets in numerous cities and towns around the country today to protest against many of the Liberal/National policies which have been announced so far.
Hyde Park in Sydney was the venue for that city’s March In August event.
Following on from the successful March In March rally held across Australia, people gathered in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane to once again voice their anger at the Abbott government.
This time, though, there was the annual budget to consider. After Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a swathe of cuts to spending in order to try bringing the budget back into surplus, the government has been suffering a vocal backlash.
A large crowd gathered in Belmore Park in downtown Sydney today to hear from speakers who detailed what these spending cuts could mean to students, retirees, the unemployed, disabled people, and Aboriginal people.
Following the speeches, protesters marched along Broadway towards Victoria Park.
At Railway Square near Central Station, students held a spontaneous sit-down demonstration to highlight their disagreement with proposed cuts to education and deregulation of university fees. Some students were forcibly removed by police before a “stand-off” which lasted about half an hour.
Approximately 12,000 protesters came together at Belmore Park in Sydney today to voice their displeasure at the policies of Tony Abbott’s government.
Speaking out against the mistreatment of asylum seekers, media ownership concentration, the government’s refusal to recognise same sex marriage and other issues, the protesters joined others across Australia who demonstrated in other cities and towns in a national weekend of action
Thunder and rain threatened to disrupt the Sydney event, but the crowd remained and then grew when the weather cleared.
After speeches from Cat Rose, Wendy Bacon and others as well as three songs and a speech from singer and activist Billy Bragg, the crowd made their way along Broadway to Victoria Park amid cheers from pedestrians and car horn honks of support from passing motorists.
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – It’s been just over a week since Cambodians cast their vote in the national election, and a definitive result remains elusive.
Both the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) have claimed victory, and both parties have said that they welcome an investigation into allegations of irregularities at polling stations such as people not able to find their names on the electoral roll, or being told that they had already voted.
While the CPP says it is happy for an investigation to take place, it is refusing to go along with the CNRP’s insistence that the United Nations be a part of the investigative process.
Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng has said that involving the UN would be a violation of Cambodian law.
Meanwhile, the CNRP held a rally in Freedom Park in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to thank its supporters and let them know the party will continue to fight for change in Cambodia. Despite rumours of a police crackdown, several thousand people gathered to hear CNRP president Sam Rainsy and party deputy leader Kem Sokha speak. Police presence was very small, and the rally remained incident-free.
A protest against the controversial film Innocence Of Muslims turned violent today when members of Sydney’s Muslim community marched on the United States consulate in Martin Place.
Starting at Sydney’s Town Hall, the protesters then moved to the US consulate in Martin Place where they encountered hundreds of police who were deployed to provide extra security.
Carrying placards and denouncing the film as a blasphemous insult to Islam, the protesters then marched to Hyde Park where they were encircled by the police. There were violent outbursts where a small number of protesters threw bottles of water and other objects at police who then used pepper spray to subdue the group.
The protesters attempted to move further into Sydney’s central business district but were thwarted by a police blockade in Market Street. Another clash broke out which resulted in one police officer receiving a cut to his head. He was removed from the scene by his colleagues and treated for his injuries.
The protesters then returned to Hyde Park where they held a prayer session. Afterwards, Muslim spokespeople urged the crowd to remain calm and “be guided by love for Allah”.
Despite the calls for calm and restraint, there were many placards being carried by protesters which read, “Behead those who insult the Prophet” and, “Obama Obama we love Osama.”
However, New South Wales Police Minister Mike Gallagher acknowledged that information received by police indicated that the protest was to be largely peaceful, but was marred by elements in the group that “were there for confrontation.”
Minister Gallagher said that there was a protest organised for the following day, Sunday, and that police were unaware of a rally happening today.
“Today wasn’t a lawful protest,” Minister Gallagher said, “and there may well be that some people take it upon themselves to again turn up on Sunday in Martin Place or any other part of the city, then be rest assured the police planning is now under way tactically in relation to that.”
At about 5PM today, the protesters gathered in Hyde Park were prepared to leave peacefully, but were ordered by police to “disperse in an orderly fashion”.
This led to another clash near the entrance to St. James Station, and protesters then fled through Hyde Park towards Darlinghurst.
Pursued by the Riot and Public Order Squad and police on horseback, the protesters dispersed through various back streets through Darlinghurst.
Speaking to the press after the protesters had left Hyde Park, NSW Police Superintendent Mark Walton praised police action throughout the day.
“I think we have actually acted very professionally and responded very well to what was a completely unannounced and unorganised protest,” Supt. Walton said. “There was no advice given to police by this group that they intended to protest and, as a result, in a very short amount of time we had a significant amount of police.”
Six police officers were injured, and eight protesters were arrested for various offences.
SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES – Protesters gathered in Union Square to speak out against the ongoing oppression by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and urged United States President Barack Obama to intervene and put an end to the violence being perpetrated by the Syrian military.