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Reclaim the Streets: Sydney
by aussiebloke, www.rts.cat.org.au
23rd March 2002
Peaceful RTS in Sydney central
On saturday the 23rd a relatively small crowd of around 1000 managed to block all 6 lanes of Oxford st (Gay Mardi Gras St) and all 8 lanes of George St (Sydney's main street) for around 9 hours. mounted units and 200+ tactical response group were on the sidelines but not used to break up this
Teddy bears were used as barricades making for confused police and motorists.
Traffic came to a halt when a woman in a wedding dress gave birth to a cream and jam sponge cake. of course, mobile sound systems provided a range of music to get down to and punk bands saluted the sydney town hall by thrashing it on the street in front.
The only problems with the police related to a band of sexy nurses who's provocative behaviour with dildos and whips was deemed to much for the saturday crowds.
The lack of interference by police could probably be attributed to some kind of experiment on their part. In recent years, Sydney RTS has been part of some ugly scenes with police over-use of force being quite an issue. this is the second strait party which has proceeded to its intention without incident.
also the RTS crew has also been experimenting with police negotiation.
Although locations are not given in order to assert the right to assemble without permission, a liaison team for the last two parties has approached police in the weeks leading up to the event and secured discussions about protocol with the commander and negotiator.
This has proceeded surprisingly well with as of yet no brickwall tactics and even clear evidence of de-escalation by senior police on the day. once again it seems to be an experiment of sorts.
No where else in australia can an RTS proceed without riot police making for a violent day. As it was the event knocked out major roads, was extremely creative, and got good coverage on local mainstream media.
This coverage was of a rather sympathetic nature commenting on the antarctic melting etc.
See the photos, stories and video at www.cat.org.au/rts/
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