Stop Adani protesters flanked by heavy police presence in Sydney’s CBD

Nationwide demonstrations stopped cities to rally against the controversial coal mine

Protesters on George St hold up signs and a blue banner saying "climate and ecological emergency."

Last night, around 600 demonstrators marched through Sydney’s CBD to protest the Adani coal mine. Mass protests occurred simultaneously in Brisbane and Melbourne, halting traffic in major cities as activists sought to “stop cities to stop Adani.”

Sydney’s protest was organised by three climate action groups: Uni Students for Climate Justice, Extinction Rebellion NSW, and Stop Adani Sydney.

Protesters were met with a significant police presence, including six riot squad cars and multiple mounted officers. The demonstrators blocked peak hour traffic along key roads in the city as they marched from Sydney Town Hall to Museum Station. A sit-in took place on the intersection of George St and Liverpool St, two of the city’s busiest roads, obstructing traffic completely for fifteen minutes.

“The police were out in force because they exist to violently defend the destructive and disastrous status quo,” said protest organiser Lily Campbell. “We took to the streets in spite of their attempts to intimidate and the protest was an awesome success.”

Activists sit down on the road at the intersections of George St and Liverpool St.
The sit-in at the intersection of George St and Liverpool St. Photography by James Newbold.

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine is scheduled for construction on Wangan and Jagalingou land in central Queensland. Despite mass protests about its devastating environmental impact and the unconsented use of traditional lands, the Queensland state government gave the project its final approval last month.

On Thursday, Labor senators voted with the majority to support the mine’s construction as well as the opening up of the Galilee Basin.

Campbell condemned the government’s “bipartisan intransigence.”

“We’re facing a climate emergency, yet right now Queensland Labor and the federal government have just given the go ahead to opening up to the Galilee Basin for coal mining,” she told Honi.

Gavin Stanbrook, an Indigenous activist from Gumbaynggirr country, also spoke out against the mine.

 “They’re trying to override native title,” he said. “For them, money is worth more than our lives.”

City of Sydney councillor Jess Miller joined the speakers at the rally. Last week, the City of Sydney declared a “climate emergency,” joining 600 other local, state and federal governments across the globe who have done the same.

“In 2020, companies in Australia will be legally obliged to disclose the level of climate risk that their companies are exposing their shareholders to,” she said. “But what level of risk is this state and federal government exposing us to by failing to tell the truth?”