Canberra, Dec 8 (IANS) Thousands of student demonstrators took to the streets of Australias main cities on Saturday in their latest protest against the planned launch of a coal mine in Queensland state by Indian conglomerate Adani.
The protesters called on the Australian government to halt the coal mining project, whose construction according to Adani would begin “imminently”, Efe news reported.
Protest Organizers, Stop Adani, estimated that 15,000 people had joined the marches across the country, while the Australian Youth Climate Coalition said that 5,000 people had marched in Melbourne alone.
The rallies followed last week’s demonstrations urging action on climate change, which saw 15,000 school students walk out of class.
Students and activists then staged a sit-in at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday to confront Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who had criticized the student protest movement.
“Kids should go to school. We do not support our schools being turned into Parliaments,” Morrison said in November. “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.”
Australia has pledged to reduce total emissions to 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, but a recent UN report revealed no improvement in the country’s climate policy since 2017.
The document said the latest projections published by the government indicated that emissions would remain high rather than being reduced in line with the 2030 targets.
Climate change has historically been a thorny issue in Australia, which has seen several of its governments make policies on eliminating taxes on polluting gases or the national energy plan.
This responds to a strong conservative political sector that seeks to keep up the exploitation of fossil fuels, arguing that alternative energies or measures to mitigate climate change will raise electric tariffs.