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USyd contingent, at least 2,000 strong, joins more than 80,000 others in Climate Strike

Thousands join the School Strike 4 Climate to protest for urgent climate action.

The USyd contingent on George St. Photo by Liam Thorne.

The University of Sydney contingent, which amassed numbers of at least 2,000, joined more than 80,000 others in the Domain this afternoon as part of the global climate strike.

Students, academics, and staff convened outside Fisher Library at 10am before marching down City Road and through Broadway. Students and staff from Notre Dame University and the University of Technology Sydney joined the march, before contingents from all over the city converged in and around Hyde Park and the Domain.

The march was only one of thousands happening across the globe throughout the day. Similar marches took place in every major city in the country, as well as a large number of smaller cities and towns.

The strike, initially inspired by Swedish high school student and activist Greta Thunberg, is the second to have taken place this year. Protesters took to Sydney streets in March 2019, however, the turnout to today’s rally was at least five times larger by most estimates.

Evelyn Araluen, a USyd PhD candidate and a descendent of the Bundjalung nation, reminded the crowd outside Fisher Library that First Nations struggles for justice and sovereignty and the climate movement cannot be separated.

“Do not leave Aboriginal people behind in this movement […] acknowledge your accountability,” said Araluen.

The protest coincided with the last day of the first week of on-the-ground campaigning for next week’s Student’s Representative Council elections. The only campaigners spotted on Eastern Avenue immediately after the strike were from the Panda faction.

Liam Donohoe, Grassroots presidential candidate, confirmed that Grassroots suspended campaigning for the day to attend the climate strike.

“I think the issue of climate change is generally the most important political issue for a great deal of young people and I think if campaigners successfully link their team to environmental improvement then they will see more success than they would otherwise,” Donohoe said.

Donohoe’s opponent, Boost’s Josie Jakovac, verified that members of the Boost campaign attended the rally, but would not comment on whether she personally attended.

“The issue of the climate and the environment is of critical importance to many USyd students,” Jakovac told Honi

The crowd in The Domain. Photo by Liam Thorne.

190 classes from the University voted to join the strike in the lead up to the event. The week before the event, the University announced that neither students nor staff would be penalised for attending the event.

Lily Campbell, speaking on behalf of the USyd’s Socialist Alternative, told Honi, “We hope this strike builds the enthusiasm and confidence of ordinary people to fight against the climate crisis, and every injustice that confronts us. To those who condemn and mock the protesters as time-wasters, counterproductive or any which slander, we say: look at history!”