Stop Adani message goes down well at the cricket

Outside the Sydney Cricket Ground. Photo: Coral Wynter

“If the State Bank of India gives Adani a $1 billion loan, they are helping fuel the climate crisis,” Varsha Yajman, an Indian-Australian university student and former School Students for Climate Action activist told protesters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 27.

About 100 Stop Adani protesters took their anti-coal message directly to the cricket. The Indian national cricket team was playing the Australian side in the first international one-day match of the season.

Hundreds of Indian cricket fans streamed past the protest — the majority showing support. Many know about the additional dangerous threat to India’s already high pollution levels that will be caused by Adani’s coal imports from Australia.

“What makes providing Adani with public money worse is that we’re in a pandemic. India has had over 8.7 million COVID-19 cases and over 130,000 deaths. Instead of fueling the climate crisis this money should be spent on public health,” Yajman said.

Some cricket fans stopped to join the mock bowling at cardboard stumps featuring the slogan: “Bowl Adani’s $1 billion loan over”.

A large banner displayed nearby said: “State Bank of India: No $1bn Adani loan”.

Later in the day, two protesters succeeded in halting play for a short time when they took their Stop Adani placards on to the ground. Their protest received widespread coverage in India.

Stop Adani cricket-themed protests were also organised outside the Indian embassy in Canberra and its Consulate in Melbourne.