NEW DELHI: Australians and the media, unrestrained by the power that industrialist Gautam Adani exercises in India, gathered in the thousands in different cities to protest against his proposed coal mine project in the Galilee Basin. Rallies were held in Brisbane, Melbourne, the Gold coast, Port Douglas and of course Sydney with protesters carrying effigies of Adani and placards against his mega mining project that has been cleared by the Australian government despite protests by environmentalists earlier.

The environmentalist groups in Australia seemed to be waging a losing battle with the hardline adopted by their government in favour of Adani, until ABC;s Four Corners program on Monday revealed alleged bribery, corruption and “environmentally destructive behaviour” by the Adani group in India. The Citizen had reported the Four Corners journalists claim that as soon as the crew arrived in Gujarat they were detained and interrogated by the state police, and threatened with further action.

The mine site at the Galilee Basin is expected to create environmental havoc with environmentalist groups now joined by 1000s of Australians after the documentary was screened locally.

Adani has become a highly controversial figure now in Australia with residents standing to spell out Stop Adani on the beach. The industrialist has promised jobs, an assurance that the Australian government has cited in defence of its position. This had not convinced the environmentalist groups, whose position has been strengthened by the large turnout of ordinary Australians. The pressure is building on the Australian government to renege from the project, although in all likelihood it will have to compensate the Indian businessman. The Australian government is still showing no signs of a shift maintaining that the massive project will generate jobs for the local people. And that the mine will be “strictly monitored’ while it is constructed.

A man takes a selfie with a fake Malcolm Turnbull and Gautam Adani at a protest against the mine. (ABC News: Lily Mayers) A photograph carried by ABC and also other local Australian newspapers.

Local campaigners who have now come together for a sustained Stop Adani campaign claim that the issue has now assumed international dimensions as it is linked to the larger climate and environment campaigns across the globe. “Protect our Future” is a placard that is being carried in all the demonstrations with the coal mine being equated to carbon dioxide and massive pollution.

The local groups will intensify the campaign and the pressure on the Australian government to withdraw the project. Adani is seen as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, having accompanied the PM on several of his foreign tours.