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 peaceful party.

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 negotiator.

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.

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Updated 22 April 2002