Peaceful RTS in Sydney
23 March 2002
On saturday 23 March a crowd of around 1000 managed to block all
six lanes of Oxford Street - the venue of Syrney's Mardi Gras -
and all eight lanes of the main drag, George Street for
around nine hours.
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.
Mounted police units and 200+ tactical response group were on
the sidelines - but not used to break up this incedible
The only problems with the police related to a band of sexy
nurses whose 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 thier part. In recent years Sydney RTS has seen some ugly
scenes with police over-use of force being quite an issue. This
is the second party in a row which has proceeded to its intended
end 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 liason team for the last two parties
has approached police in the weeks leading up to the event and
secured disscussions about protocol with the commander and
This has proceeded suprisingly well with - as yet - no brickwall
tactics and even clear evidence of de-esculation by senior police
on the day. Once again it seems to be an experiment of sorts. Nowhere
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 mainstreem media.
This coverage was of a rather sympathetic nature - commenting
on the antarctic melting etc.
See photos, stories and video at www.cat.org.au/rts/newweb/webcastdec1.php