LINDA BRADY and KRYSTAL GORDON
They came as feather-winged angels and unmasked anonymous hackers, marijuana fans, Reef champions and 99 percenters, proud Aboriginal campaigners, Ethiopian activists and refugee supporters – and each and every one had a message for the G20 leaders.
About 1000 G20 protesters sweated their way through the streets of Brisbane in heatwave conditions this afternoon in the biggest march of the G20 weekend – BrisCAN’s People’s Rally.
Despite fears of rogue elements, and so-called ‘lone wolf’ operators encouraged to deliberately cause trouble, the march went off without a hitch.
A heavy police escort, which at times ran about 30 strong and three rows deep, was tempered by the presence of independent legal observers and negotiators, and by the goodwill of protesters who were more interested in having their voices heard and dancing in the heat than picking fights.
When the crowd finally spilled into Musgrave Park, the atmosphere of protest continued as passionate activists took to the stage to demand a better, more humane Australia.
The park program kicked off with Aboriginal activist Wayne Wharton who took aim at political and community leaders who lacked the backbone to stand up for their people – and not even Gough Whitlam or the unions were spared.
Meanwhile Friends of the Earth environmental activist June Norman was one of a host of ‘earth’s guardian angels’ drifting through the crowd, urging governments to focus on environmental issues.
“We need to stand up and be counted, get outside our comfort zone, do things that might push the boundaries. This is my grandchildren’s future, this is the future of all the coming generations,” she said.
Protests across Brisbane will continue on Sunday, and will include the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy’s ‘Decolonisation Before Profit’ rally and the final stages of Walking Borders’ continuous G20 walk.