SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Environmental campaigners dressed in mock Coca-Cola cans held a demonstration Wednesday outside the Australian headquarters of the Olympic sponsor.
Environmental watchdog Greenpeace has targeted the American company in an ongoing campaign against the use of ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as refrigerants.
Greenpeace said Coca-Cola was breaking "Green Games" environmental guidelines, including bans on HFCs at Olympic sites, which formed an integral part of Sydney's bid to serve as host of the 2000 Olympics.
In a highly visible protest at Circular Quay, on Sydney Harbor adjacent to the Sydney Opera House, activists gathered around a giant Coke can displaying the words "enjoy climate change."
Others dressed up as polar bears and waved placards saying: "Help me now! Coca-Cola stop using HFCs."
"As an Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola can't keep ignoring the Games' environmental guidelines," Greenpeace campaigner Rupert Posner said. "Coca-Cola is undermining the credibility of the 'Green Games' by its appalling effort on the issue."
Environmentalists estimate Coca-Cola will have 1,700 refrigerators using HFCs in Sydney and only 100 coolers that comply with the "Green Games" guidelines.
Coca-Cola has said the cooling equipment to be used at Olympic sites was a "significant advance" in energy efficiency and that commercial drink coolers using alternative refrigerants were not commercially available on a scale required for the Olympics.