Youth on the streets. Students clogged Melbourne's CBD to call for action on climate change. (Photo: Helena Abdou)

Cities clogged in student climate revolt

Thousands of students across Australia walked out of their classrooms on Friday, protesting against government inaction on climate change.

In Melbourne, an estimated 5000 students rallied outside the Old Treasury Building before taking to the streets of the CBD in a colourful protest marked by an array of pithy and often witty signs, along with chants attacking Prime Minister Scott Morrison and international mining group Adani. In Sydney, thousands crammed Martin Place in an equally strong show of youthful anger.

Students told Hatch reporters Helena Abdou and Fatima Halloum they were protesting for their future and the future of the planet – and rejected suggestions they should not have abandoned their studies to protest over an issue they didn’t understand, as some critics have claimed.

Earlier, federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan had criticised the student protest in an interview on 2GB – an interview that to many on social media only reinforced the point the protesters were making.

“The best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue,” Mr Canavan said.

“Because that’s what your future life will look like, up in a line asking for a handout, not actually taking charge for your life and getting a real job.”

There were protests on Friday in cities and regional centres nationwide, inspired by the example of 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who boycotted classes in September to raise awareness of climate change.