BY KENJI SATO
Thousands of protesters are expected to picket the streets of Newtown on December 12, blocking traffic as a “demonstration of the gridlock the WestConnex will cause” and to demand a “liveable city for all”.
The protest will double as a street party, with a ‘multi-stage mobile protest festival’ starring local bands and DJs filling the streets of Newtown.
The protests are being run and organised by the Sydney branch of community activist organisation Reclaim the Streets, who has long been using street parties as their method of protest.
Reclaim the Streets activists will be protesting a range of Sydney-based issues, including the lockout laws, the relocation of the Ultimo Powerhouse Museum, the Barangaroo Casino, and the WestConnex roads project.
James Loch, a spokesperson for Reclaim the Streets Sydney, told City Hub that local residents were fed up with “the super wealthy always winning”.
“The common issue is that the State Government is more interested in looking after lobby groups that have given them money than the interests of the average citizen,” Mr Loch said.
“Take the lockout laws, for example. We saw a bunch of property developers smashing up our old venues and putting in plans to build massive apartment blocks on them.”
“The NSW Government has deprived us of a dancefloor, so we’re just going to have to dance in the streets instead,” he said.
Stephen Blanks, the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, told City Hub that the lockout laws limited individual freedom.
“While the lockout laws represent a restriction of civil liberties, one can’t say there haven’t been corresponding benefits,” Mr Blank told City Hub.
“There are competing civil liberties involved in licensing laws: one is the ability to obtain services at licensed premises at whatever time of day suits you, versus the ability to walk the streets safely,” he said.
“There are choices to be made about where to draw the line, and balance competing interests, and those should be regularly looked at.”
Mr Loch told City Hub that he believed a lot of young people do not protest anymore because they feel it doesn’t achieve anything, but he said that “at the very least, you’re making yourself heard.”
“Even if we don’t see any changes in the law, at the very least we’ve shown everyone who’s turned up that you can have a safe fun party in a public space and that you can use roads for something other than cars.”