The speech that set social media aflutter

TOM MANN

United States President Barack Obama speaks on the role of the United States in the Asia Pacific at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia on November 15, 2014.

United States President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia on November 15, 2014. Photo: Kimberley McCosker

President Barack Obama’s speech at the University of Queensland today not only captivated those sitting in the audience, as millions tuned in across the world to hear the United States leader address Australia.

The streets in the heart of Brisbane were near empty as thousands ventured indoors, and out of the heat, to watch the closest live feed of the talk.

Member for Lilley Wayne Swan was at the event and jumped on Facebook to post about meeting the President in person.

But politicians weren’t the only ones taking the ‘Twittersphere’ by storm.

Local resident Eamonn McKenna was in Brisbane during the speech and said the streets were almost deserted.

“We came to see the city while it was in rumoured lockdown, so I’ve just been skating around empty streets,” he said.

“It’s interesting, because I’ve been to other cities when they’ve had similar things on… I was in Brazil for the [FIFA] World Cup and they locked down the same as this.”

The G20 Media Centre screeched to a standstill. PHOTO: Tom Mann

The G20 Media Centre screeched to a standstill. Photo: Tom Mann

Meanwhile at the G20 International Media Centre, hundreds of the world’s media, delegates and even security officers dropped their pens, guards and cameras to gather around the televisions positioned through the room to watch Obama’s speech.

Shenzen Media Group Journalist Fuxi Gao said the atmosphere was a change of pace from the usual hustle and bustle of the G20 Summit.

“Everyone stood together, watching the screen and any other TV in the centre,” she said.

“It definitely hasn’t been like this before, not in this centre.”

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