Protesters chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho ScoMo has got to go” as speakers climbed Town Hall’s side steps, and later moved on to “The liar from the shire, the country is on fire”.
Izzy Raj-Seppings, 13, waited to address the crowd.
She was given a move-on order by police while protesting outside Kirribilli House last September. Her hope is that Friday’s protest will create change.
“[I hope] it attracts a lot of attention gets our Prime Minister to move and start thinking about change from fossil fuels to renewables,” she said.
Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi addressed the crowd.
“I stand in front of you today bloody angry,” she said. “I don’t think I have ever been this angry in my life.”
She said she was determined to do whatever it took to turn the “climate crisis” around.
“Leadership is totally lacking in our Prime Minister and this government,” she said.
“Scott Morrison and his government are cowardly. They are dishonest. They are completely incompetent. They have behaved like climate criminals. And they are led by Scotty From Marketing.”
Senator Faruqi used a disparaging nickname for Mr Morrison, referring to his time at Tourism Australia.
She said a royal commission into bushfires was just the start, and that climate activists needed to be bolder and more radical in the future.
“Out of control bushfires are sweeping across the state – destroying thousands of hectares, houses, and lives,” the event description said on Facebook.
“These fires, heatwaves, and droughts are not just unprecedented – they’re the direct result of decades of climate destruction at the hands of fossil fuel loving politicians.
“The climate crisis has compounded hundreds of years of land mismanagement since invasion and decades of profiteering on water which has left much of the country in drought.”
A man in the crowd, who wanted only to be called Tim, said he had travelled up from the fire-ravaged South Coast, where his family lives.
“I’ve just driven up from Narooma. I drove down to rescue family stuck in the evacuation centre. I drove through the towns from Canberra down. You drive for hours. Everything is dead. Everything is burnt. I’ve got a seven-month old baby and it breaks my heart.”
A Penrith man named Steven said he had attended because he was “sick of not doing anything”.
“I felt like this was at least doing something. We have had so much inaction. Our government both state and federal have been embarrassing in their response. Instead of just tweeting I wanted to physically do something.”
Chanting and accompanied by a percussion band, protesters begin marching down Druitt Street and into Park Street, towards Hyde Park. The march will continue down Elizabeth Street and towards Parliament House, stopping outside the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices on Bligh Street.
Janek Drevikovsky is an intern journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.