Australian school students join global climate protest
Hundreds of school students rallied outside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's official Sydney residence Friday kicking off a "global climate strike" demanding action to stop the world heating up.
They waved banners outside Kirribilli House reading "Don't be a fossil fool" and "Scotty coal 4eva" in protest of Morrison's support for coal, a major contributor to emissions of gases that trap the Earth's heat.
The prime minister has promised to back coal mines for as long as they are financially viable, arguing that coal is important to the country's resource-rich economy and necessary to provide affordable power.
The young protesters also marched down Sydney's streets in the latest demonstration organised as part of a global movement originally launched by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg in 2018.
"We are angry at the Morrison government. We're seeing climate disaster after climate disaster with bushfires and floods," said Natasha Abhayawickrama, 17, a protest organizer.
Australia suffered one of its worst bushfire seasons on record in the Black Summer fires of 2019-2020.
The country has also recently emerged from a two-week rain and flooding disaster that killed more than 20 people as it engulfed a string of east coast towns and swept cars from the roads.
"We know that it's fossil fuels that are exacerbating these floods and these climate disasters," said Abhayawickrama, warning that young voters would vote in favour of climate action in the next federal elections, expected to be held in May.
Another protester, 13-year-old Ella O'Dwyer-Oshlack, said she had been affected by the east coast floods.
"I was really angry that I lost pretty much everything and couldn't do anything about it," she said.
"I'm afraid for the future and I'm afraid that things like this could happen again. And then my future and my kids' future will not look very good at all."