Port blockade a success!
Thankyou to everyone who took part in Saturday's Peoples' Blockade of the World's Biggest Coal Port!
Here are a few more photos and some words from one of the blockade particpants.
The protest was a fantastic show of community determination to take action against Australia's biggest contribution to climate change, despite resistance from government and industry. As well as being a powerful and symbolic action, the protest succeeded in disrupting coal exports from Newcastle Harbour.
Rising Tide estimate that about 400 people came to Horseshoe Beach for the protest, and that about 250 entered the shipping channel to blockade the world's biggest coal port.
The blockade ran from 4 hours, from 11am to 3pm. Newcastle Port Corporation originally had nine coal ship movements scheduled for the 24 hours of Saturday 3rd November, but only moved six. From 6am to 6pm that day, 3 coal ship movements took place, all of them under police escort. The coal carrier Oinoussian Lady came almost to a halt as it was leaving Newcastle Harbour at about 2:30pm, as 250 people in kayaks, canoes, and inner-tubes attempted to block it's passage.
As Ben Pearson from Greenpeace told the crowd gathered at the beach on Saturday, it is an historic moment when coal ships now need a police escort through Newcastle Harbour. Clearly, the social licence to export coal is being withdrawn.
During the blockade, a woman was directly hit, while in her kayak, by a police jet-ski at high speed. The woman had to be take to John Hunter Hospital for treatment. Many protesters on the water complained that the police strategy appeared to be to knock people from their vessels while the coal ship made its way through. If this is the case, they can hardly claim that they were acting in the interests of public safety.
Saturday's blockade will certainly not be the last community direct action event against coal exports from Newcastle. In April this year, the NSW Government gave the green light for a doubling of Newcastle coal exports, including the proposed new Coal Export Terminal on Kooragang Island. Not long after that, the much-oppose Anvil Hill open-cut coal min was approved. Over 270 people have taken an online pledge to take Peaceful Direct Action to prevent the new coal terminal from proceeding, and hundreds of people in NSW are determined to stop the Anvil Hill mine.
Over the coming months there will be many direct action protests against the export coal industry that dominates the landscape of Newcastle and the Hunter region. People are no longer prepared to sit by and watch as Australia's biggest contribution to global warming undergoes a massive expansion. If our so-called leaders are not prepared to act against climate change, then we will take action ourselves.
So we'll see you all on Saturday 8th December, at the community walk-in on the constuction site of the proposed new Coal Export Terminal.
The action came together because of the generous support, donations and help of a number of people and organisations. Thanks particularly go to...
- Abby for filming
- Adrian and Zero Emissions Network
- Amanda for the marquee
- Angela and the UNSW Environment Collective and canoe club
- B and S for everything
- Barton and Ocean Planet Kayak Tours
- Ben, Amanda, and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition
- Ben, Simon, and Greenpeace
- Caroline and Rivers SOS
- Damien for photos
- Erland and the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales
- Everyone who came
- Everyone who helped in the kitchen, who helped pack up, who made banners, etc etc etc.
- Everyone who told all their friends and family about it
- Food Not Bombs
- Friends of the Earth
- Gary and family at Maximum Adventure
- Geoff, Steve, and the Socialist Alliance
- Geordie for the PA
- Graham and Peacebus.com
- Graham and the Anvil Hill Alliance
- Grower's Best
- Hannah, Libby, and the Sydney Uni Environment Collective
- Hunter Organics
- James for the marquee
- Katherine and the Wilderness Society
- Lee, Kerry, Jemma, Damien, and the Greens
- Mark for the kayak training
- Merrilyn for the lifejackets
- Nat and Sod for everything
- Natural Tucker
- Newcastle University Student's Association and Environment Collective
- Nicky and everyone else at the Australian Student Environment Network
- Paul and Mitra for the music
- Ras and his dad for the kayaks
- Uncle Arthur and Aunty Peta
- Wes for photos