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It’s On! The “People’s Blockade” 2023

Word on the street is Newcastle is set to be the site of the largest act of Australian climate civil disobedience ever. Leanne Elliott has the deets.

In 2022, the People’s Blockade lasted seven hours, with hundreds of brightly colored kayaks dotting the harbor and preventing coal ships from entering Newcastle port, the worlds largest coal port.

But this years People’s Blockade is going to be huge. According to grassroots organisation Rising Tide Australia, this year is set to be the largest act of Australian climate civil disobedience ever, with an estimated 3000 people expected to attend.

The action is intended to send a message to the Australian government and the coal industry, demanding the cessation of new coal projects and coal exports from Newcastle port by 2030.

“Borrow one of our kayaks, or bring your own vessel – a kayak, tinny, yacht or surfboard!” – Rising Tide Australia

The annual event will once again be held on Awabakal and Worimi land and water, at Muloobinba (Horse Shoe Beach), between 24 – 17 November. The event is family friendly, with live music, guest speakers and food (shared by donation).

Peoples Blockade Newcastle 2023. Facebook Event Poster.

Speaking at a Rising Tide forum in Sydney on 5 September, Lord Mayor, Clover Moore made a call to action, urging people to take direct action against the coal industry by supporting the non-violent protest.

“We must take out fossil fuels faster, fairly and forever. The decline of the fossil fuel industry is not happening fast enough.

“We need to act with the urgency that this moment demands. I support peaceful civil disobedience and protest and the People’s Blockade of the World’s Largest Coal Port,” said Moore.

This sentiment has been echoed by Greens leader, Adam Bandt, who used early examples of civil disobedience to highlight the need for civil disobedience calling for action on climate issues.

“We need nonviolent civil disobedience. The types of civil disobedience that have been so crucial throughout history in securing change, from ending slavery to gaining women’s suffrage, from workers’ rights to civil rights,” said Bandt.

“I hope to be there with Rising Tide in Newcastle in November, because they are everyday people trying to protect this country we love from worse fires, floods and droughts.”

The Rising Tide speaking tour will wrap up next month, with a forum at Newcastle City Hall on October 9th. Speakers will include Senator David Pocock, along with former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong (via Zoom), and Climate Council Director, Professor Leslie Hughes.

What’s On

Friday: action training & planning.
Saturday: flotilla blockade, live music, speakers, kids’ activities.
Sunday: more nonviolent action, more music & family-friendly fun.
Monday: next steps in planning the movement to protect our planet.

Yak Media will be in attendance, so be sure to say “Hi” and take a pic for #YakSnaps on Insta if you see us around; and stay tunned for the next update.

Feature image courtesy of Rising Tide, Climate Defence.

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