Thousands have gathered in Sydney to demand climate change action in the midst of a devastating bushfire season which has destroyed more than 700 homes and seen smoke pollution blanket much of the state.
A sprawling mass of people crowded Town Hall on Wednesday evening, with one police officer at the scene estimating the number of protesters could exceed 7,500.
Some wore the face masks people have donned to cope with the smoke haze, while others brandished signs reading: "Denial is not a policy", "Less debate more climate action", "For my grandkids" and "Climate change is a public health emergency".
Protester Elise Vohradsky, from Western Sydney, said she was motivated to attend after seeing smoke shroud the city on Tuesday.
She said it was upsetting to see Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking in Sydney about the government's religious freedom bill that same day.
"I went outside and couldn't even see anything, like it was just smog. I had to like put a scarf around my mouth and nose to just go to the shops across the road," she told AAP.
"There's so much devastation - and not just the people, the cities but the environment, the animals.
"I'm pretty angry about it all. I want to do something and I don't know what I can do."
Babette Robertson lives in Sydney but grew up near Wingham on the mid north coast, which has felt the impact of recent fires.
She said her family had been spared but some of their friends had lost homes.
"It's so devastating. I just find myself crying some days ... and dad just sends photos every day and it's just so heartbreaking," she told AAP.
She accused the government of ignoring the science of climate change and said she protested hoping she would be heard and people's concerns would be acknowledged.
"They don't listen to us," she said.
Australian Associated Press