Author: Shireen Khalil

Tens of thousands of Australians marched against climate change - now one image has gone viral, for all the wrong reasons.

Australia was one of the first countries to participate in the Global Strike 4 Climate protest on Friday that saw tens of thousands of people from cities all over the country taking part.

Holding picket signs in the air, the masses, including schoolchildren, were seen marching through their respective cities as they chanted loud and far for a change to environmental policies ahead of the UN Emergency Climate Summit.

Melbourne had an estimated 100,000 people rallying, while Sydney had 80,000 and Hobart 22,000.

The Australian Youth Coal Coalition accused the climate change protesters of leaving rubbish behind at Hyde Park in Sydney.

And while protesters made their point loud and clear in droves, there has been one image floating across social media that has now gone viral.

The Australian Youth Coal Coalition (AYCC), which has more than 3,000 Facebook followers, took aim at the hundreds of thousands of protesters by posting a photo of rubbish they claim was left behind at a Sydney park.

"Look at the mess today's climate protesters left behind in beautiful Hyde Park. So much plastic. So much landfill. So sad," the group shared on its Facebook page.

The post has been shared more than 34,000 times with nearly 10,000 comments mainly condemning the students for making the mess.

However, not all is at it seems.

The day after the protest on Saturday, the group then claimed to have cleaned the mess, but not all is at it seems, with thousands of people correcting the group.

"I find this so hard to believe the Climate Protesters would leave this mess in Hyde Park," one person wrote.

"Or it's a random photo shared to mislead. There is no credit, nothing to identify and support the claim," added another.

The Australian Youth Coal Coalition accused the climate change protesters of leaving rubbish behind at Hyde Park in Sydney.

"It's not cool to lie guys," said a third.

And they were right. The photo of the rubbish isn't of Hyde Park in Sydney — in fact, it's not even of a park in Australia.

So where is it from?

The photo was taken at Hyde Park 420, in London, after an annual celebration to do with marijuana in April this year.

One day after the event, The Hemp Trading Company posted the image to their Facebook page, explaining the mess left behind was cleaned up by Extinction Rebellion protesters, who had demonstrated nearby.

"With #extinctionrebellion not yards away, so many of you couldn't be bothered to clean up after yourselves … #cannabiscommunity you can do better — you need to do better," the post had read.

Two days after Hemp Trading's post, Royal Parks, the charity that looks after London's eight royal parks, were forced to clarify misleading information that also did the rounds on social media during that specific event.

"There's a lot of incorrect information doing the Twitter rounds this morning. This photo is the result of an unofficial event in Hyde Park on Saturday, not the #ExtinctionRebellion protesters in Marble Arch."

It was an image unrelated to the recent, worldwide climate change protests, but the AYCC have continued to back their claim by posting another image on Saturday morning of a clean park.

"After the mess left behind by the climate protesters, a group of young coal supporters volunteered to do a big clean up," the caption on the image read.

"Only rubbish I can see is your post. These stunts call into question the ethics, probity and judgment of all other public positions you have taken. If you can't participate in public discourse without this kind of corrosive malfeasance, your soapbox should be kicked out from under you," a second said.

Facebook users shamed the group for their posts

"So you guys built a time machine to go back and clean up a mess from a pro cannabis rally in April. Wow. Dedication," a third said.

The AYCC have since deleted the two posts. has contacted the Facebook group for comment.

Climate change has made record-breaking heat twice as likely as record-setting cold temperatures over the past two decades in the contiguousU.S., according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.

Marches, rallies and demonstrations have been held from Canberra to Kabul and Cape Town to New York.

Nations around the world recommitted at a 2015 summit in Paris to hold warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit)more than pre-industrial-era levels by the end of this century, and they added a more ambitious goal of limiting the increaseto 1.5 C (2.7F).

But U.S. President Donald Trump subsequently announced that he would withdraw the U.S. from the agreement, which he said benefitedother nations at the expense of American businesses and taxpayers.

Trump called global warming a "hoax" before becoming president. He has since said he's "not denying climate change" but is not convinced it's man-made or permanent.

Friday's demonstrations started in Australia, where organizers estimated 300,000 protesters marched in 110 towns and cities, including Sydney and the national capital,Canberra. Demonstrators called for their country, the world's largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, to take moredrastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack - filling in while Prime Minister Scott Morrison was on a state visit to the UnitedStates - said Australia was already taking action to cut emissions. McCormack called the climate rallies "a disruption" that should have been held on a weekend to avoid inconveniences.

Many middle schools in largely coal-reliant Poland gave students the day off so they could participate in the rallies in Warsaw and other cities. P

resident Andrzej Dudajoined school students picking up trash in a forest.

German police said more than 100,000 people gathered in front of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate, near where Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet thrashed out the final details of a 54 billion euro ($60 billion) plan to curb Germany's greenhouse gas emissions.

Thousands of schoolchildren and their adult supporters demonstrated in London outside the British Parliament. The British government said it endorsed the protesters' message but did not condone skipping school - a stance that did not sit well withsome of the young protesters.

"If politicians were taking the appropriate action we need and had been taking this action a long time ago when it was recognized the world was changing in a negative way, then I would not have to be skipping school," said Jessica Ahmed, a 16-year-old London student.

In Helsinki, the Finnish capital, a man dressed as Santa Claus stood outside parliament holding a sign: "My house is on fire,my reindeer can't swim." Smaller protests took place in Asia, including in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kongand India. In the Afghan capital of Kabul, an armored personnel carrier was deployed to protect about 100 young people asthey marched, led by a group of several young women carrying a banner emblazoned with "Fridays for Future." "We know war cankill a group of people," said Fardeen Barakzai, one of the organizers. "The problem in Afghanistan is our leaders are fightingfor power, but the real power is in nature."

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