Thousands of Sydneysiders brought parts of the city to a halt yesterday in a flashmob freeze co-ordinated by Caritas Australia as it called for the Australian government to 'Stop Global Poverty'.
At least 400 participants froze simultaneously at Martin Place, at 1:10pm with signs, costumes and messages written on their hands.
The freeze, carried out in collaboration with organisations for the Make Poverty History Coalition, saw thousands of ordinary Australians, including students in classrooms, join the global pledge to eradicate extreme poverty and call for Australia to realise its commitments to the Millennium Development Goals, Caritas said in a statement.
Other oganisations that took part include St Vincent's Hospital and St Vincent's Private Hospital in Darlinghurst, with staff freezing on the footpaths of Victoria Street. No operations were affected.
"Caring for the needs of people who are poor and marginalised is something that resonates very loudly within our mission and values at St Vincents Hospital and St Vincents Private Hospital. Consequently we are very proud to support Caritas in the STOP for POVERTY campaign" said Lisa McDonald, St Vincent's Mission Integration Manager.
Caritas CEO Jack de Groot said: "Achieving change for communities living in abject poverty is a mammoth task, one which requires urgent action from all of us. It's inspiring to see so many people taking part today to show their resolve to stop global poverty.
"In the year 2000 the Australian Government, along with 189 other countries, committed to halving poverty around the world by 2015 and achieving eight Millennium Development Goals to address the dehumanising conditions facing billions worldwide.
"With the clock ticking down to 2015, still more than 2 billion people are profoundly affected by poverty worldwide and progress to achieve universal primary education and access to health services in impoverished communities is lagging," Mr de Groot said.
Sydney Stops: Thousands freeze for 3 minutes to stop global poverty (Caritas Australia)