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  • Protesters take part in a rally under the slogan 'Sack ScoMo!' in Sydney, Australia, January 10, 2020.

    Protesters take part in a rally under the slogan 'Sack ScoMo!' in Sydney, Australia, January 10, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 10 January 2020
Opinion

Bushfires sweeping the country are complicating the political situation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Tens of thousands of people Friday demonstrated in several Australian cities demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison (ScoMo). They reject the inaction his administration has shown in fighting bushfires which are sweeping the country's ecosystems and animals.

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"We protest because these fires are unprecedented, they have been burning since September. We need urgent action to stop this tragedy and the climate crisis," Students for Climate Justice activist Anneke De Manuel said.

In Sydney's financial center, over 30,000 people protested energetically against ScoMo remembering that the Australian Prime Minister went on vacation precisely when the fire crisis was directly threatening the lives of thousands of people.

Previously, this conservative politician publicly expressed his support for highly polluting economic activities and refused to relate the worsening of forest fires to global climate change.

Due to his attitudes against environmental protection, Scott Morrison has earned the nickname of "the Australian Bolsonaro," an expression which alludes to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, a pro-business climate change denier who became world-famous for letting the Amazon rainforest burn.

"Get rid of a government that is denying everything, everything. They just only react when they have to. Every decision is a political decision, it's never about the people. That's why I turned up," protester David Gribble said.

Since the fires began last September, over 8 million hectares, an area equivalent to the size of Ireland, have been destroyed. In this process, according to the latest estimates of Australian scientists, up to 1 billion wild animals could have died and the situation can get much worse.

So far the environmental disaster in Australia has emitted some 349 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to data from Journalists for the Planet.

The transformation of the local average temperature has also been evident. On Friday, the temperature reached 40 degrees Celsius in the southeast of the country, where fires are expected to get bigger.

"It's not like we can say it's going to get better. There is no moisture in the ground, it's going to get a lot worse. More people will die and more homes will be lost," Bega Shire Councillor Cathy Griff said.

The political situation for the Morrison administration is getting a little more complicated every day given the growing citizen awareness about the consequences of what is happening.

"Australians aren't very good at protesting generally and I feel like today we've done pretty well. I feel like a lot of people yelling which is, makes you feel pretty good. I feel like change is on the horizon."

"ScoMo has got to go," "There is no climate B" and "Save us from hell" were some of the slogans that people shouted while blocking major roads in Sydney.

There were similar protests in Canberra and Melbourne where air quality turned so noxious this month that the two cities featured among places with the most polluted air on earth.

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