Thousands Attend Sydney Opera House Protest, Shine Lights Onto Sails

In a bid to obstruct the controversial six-minute projection of The Everest horse race contenders, thousands of Sydneysiders protested with torches and powerful lights.

As more than 1,000 people chanted "shame on you", the barrier numbers for the country's richest horse race were displayed on the Opera House's sails.

Using mobile phone lights and torches, the protesters tried to obstruct the projection with a light show of their own.

Image: AAP

Police in riot gear were in attendance as people began to filter into the areas surrounding the landmark ahead of the controversial illumination, which kicked off at 7.30pm on Tuesday night.

Barricades were installed in the forecourt, while water police patrolled the perimeter of the Opera House.

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The effect of the protesters' lights was varied. Though the images were still readable, some images Tweeted out by Racing NSW showed quite a considerable difference caused by the lights.

Some attendees held signs slamming the NSW government and Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The government sparked outrage by overturning the decision of Opera House management, which had rejected the promotion of the race on the grounds that it breached its guidelines.

"Gladys & ScoMo. Finest NSW politicians money can buy," one sign read.

Image: Josh Butler
Image: Josh Butler

Lucas, one local in attendance, even tried to block the projection using balloons. After spending roughly $120, he attached them to a long string and sent them up in an effort to block the light's path.

"This is not a f**cking billboard. Racing Australia is cruel to animals and gambling is a problem in this country," he told a ten daily reporter.

"There's plenty more balloons over there if you want to join in."

Lucas' large cluster of balloons (seen left) did little to stop the projection, leaving only a small black dot on the sails (seen right). Image: Josh Butler.

The crowd also chanted against radio shock jock Alan Jones, following his interview of Opera House CEO  Louise Herron on Friday in which called for her to be sacked for opposing Racing NSW's plans.

Though Herron was unsuccessful in stopping the promotion, it didn't go ahead as originally planned.

Racing NSW originally wanted to conduct the barrier draw live, with the results projected in real time onto the sails of the building.

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Image: AAP

But the draw was conducted in private on Tuesday morning in order to avoid a security risk presented by the thousands of protesters who followed through with their promise to show up.

Racing NSW stewards also suspended all betting on The Everest horse race on Tuesday.

When the light show ended, members of the crowd could be heart shouting "never again" and "your graphics looked shit"'

A petition to "defend our Opera House" currently has more than 298,000 signatures.