Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg was photoshopped into a Sydney public space on Tuesday by Lord Mayor Clover Moore as she revealed a new-look Central Square.
Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg was photoshopped into a Sydney public space on Tuesday by Lord Mayor Clover Moore as she revealed a new-look Central Square.

Clover brings Greta to Sydney for virtual climate protests

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has unveiled her vision for the new Central Square - a public space filled with placard waving climate change activists including Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg.

The protesters were photoshopped into a high resolution artist impression that was presented to councillors to brief them ahead of their unanimous endorsement of the public square last week.

"I was gobsmacked to see that Clover Moore's 'vision' for the proposed Central Square is that it is just another place for protesters holding effigies of Greta Thunberg, encouraging school strikes and complaining about farmers," Councillor Christine Forster said.

The protesters can be see dotted around the palazzo furniture waving placards with slogans including "There is no planet B" and "Time is running out".

Vision for a new public square near Central station, featuring a giant Greta Thunberg.
Vision for a new public square near Central station, featuring a giant Greta Thunberg.

Also visible is a giant Greta holding a placard saying: "Skolstrejk for Klimatet" which translates to "School strike for climate".

"It's hardly what the people want to have happening in important public spaces around Sydney," Ms Forster said. "We should be planning for Sydney's open spaces to be inviting and accessible to everyone, not just those who agree with Clover Moore's one-eyed view of the world."

 

Central Square is envisaged as one of a number of public spaces in the Sydney's new Tech Central innovation hub. Ms Moore said it would help "breathe life into the city's 24/7 economy."

After the Council endorsed the plans for Central Square Ms Moore said: "Central Square is envisaged as a collection of connected public spaces, with public plazas, tree-lined walkways and the transformation of Railway Square into a cool, green space."

Lord Mayor Clover Moore has proposed changing Railway Square into an open, green space. Picture: AAP Image/James Gourley
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has proposed changing Railway Square into an open, green space. Picture: AAP Image/James Gourley

She did not mention it being a gathering place for activists and protesters.

Dr Bella d'Abrera from the Institute of Public Affairs said: "It is clear that Sydney City Council is governing on behalf of a minority of Sydneysiders who believe that climate protesters should be given precedence over other uses of the public space.

"No part of the council, even a proposal for public space, escapes the divisive activist lens in which Clover Moore views every issue," she said.

A City of Sydney spokeswoman said the images of the demonstration was just one of a number intended to show the "broad range of activities" Central Square would be used for including Vivid Sydney light displays and outdoor film screenings.

She said the "convincingly realistic" artist impression showed "a peaceful demonstration, reflecting the City's ongoing commitment to addressing climate change and Council's public endorsement of peaceful and lawful climate demonstrations.

"The City is not opposed to demonstrations in public spaces provided organisers have worked with NSW Police to ensure they are peaceful and lawful," she said.

Originally published as Clover brings Greta to Sydney for virtual climate protests


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