More than 1,000 protesters, armed with torches, flashlights and smartphones, shone lights on the sails of the Sydney Opera House in Australia on Tuesday night.
Protesters sought to obscure a promotion for a horse racing event called The Everest, after the state of New South Wales’ government strong-armed its way into ensuring the projection on the building would take place.
The Sydney Opera House has a policy in which logos, corporate identities or colours are forbidden from being projected onto its sails, as to not undermine its heritage status.
“Unless for a specific artistic purpose in relation to Sydney Opera House, text or slogans will not be permitted,” the policy reads.
Despite resistance from the Sydney Opera House’s CEO Louise Herron, which culminated in a controversial radio interview, and more than 300,000 petition signatures against the promotion from the public, the projection went ahead.
Protesters pointed their torches and flashlights at the sails, where horse numbers, colours and a logo for The Everest would be projected, in an attempt to wash it out.
They were unhappy with the use of the much-loved Opera House as a billboard for gambling, and the government being lobbied by the racing industry and sections of the media into ensuring the promotion would be displayed.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, previously the director of Tourism Australia, defended State Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s deal with Racing NSW, calling the Opera House “the biggest billboard Sydney has.”
Loud boos and chants rang from the base of the Opera House when the projection took place, and could be heard from a distance.
Across the water, the lights managed to partially wash out the projection.
Although the projection was still largely visible, it was clear that protesters had crashed the party.