Sydney dims down for Earth Hour climate change protest

Earth Hour marked around the world

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Australia's biggest city, Sydney, has switched off its lights for an hour as the Earth Day climate change protest gets under way across the globe.

A small crowd cheered and applauded as the skyline went dark. The Opera House was lit in a deep shade of green to symbolise renewable energy.

The annual event is organised by WWF, the global environment campaign.

It encourages cities and individuals to switch off non-essential lights for an hour at 20:30 local time.

Critics have dismissed the campaign, now into its seventh year, as a gimmick of little or no practical benefit.

This year, Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking part for the first time.

The Kremlin due to switch off its lights at 16:30 GMT along with 90 other landmark buildings in Moscow.

Sydney cut its lights at 09:30 GMT.

"It's really exciting," local resident Jessica Bellamy told AFP news agency.

"It's been a very inspiring night because it's all about hope and change."

One person wrote on Twitter: "Sydney Harbour bridge is in darkness for Earth Hour. You can even see the stars!"

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