Sydney's March Against Baird: As It Happened
Thousands of protesters gathered to march against New South Wales Premier Mike Baird over the weekend. The BRAG's Joseph Earp and photographer Brianna Elton were there to capture the action.
There was a lot riding on the March Against Baird protest that took place in Sydney on Sunday.
Earlier in the week, a shutdown of the first amalgamated council meeting involved one dissenter spitting in the face of Richard Pearson, the appointed administrator - a move that allowed Baird himself to paint all who opposed him as a feral rabble.
For that reason, it was important that the massive march in Sydney was carried off as peacefully as possible. Luckily the goal was achieved with ease. Sure, people were angry, as the numerous signs proved (one simply read "I Am Very Upset") but they expressed their vitriol in a productive, touchingly eloquent way.
A speech from Tyson Koh, the founder of Keep Sydney Open, was particularly inspiring, with the assembled dissenters bellowing their approval in response to every one of Koh's anti-lockout law takedowns. Koh made it clear that shutting down our bars and clubs was about more than simply making it hard for people to "impulse buy a bottle of white wine", as the Premier himself once put it in a much-maligned Facebook post. Such a law is killing business. It's killing jobs. It's effecting lives.
But it wasn't just Baird's lockout laws that were under fire. The entire litany of the man's failures were aired out for all to see, with speakers highlighting his moral corruption. Baird, they argued, is a man who protects the interests of big business and casinos, not Sydneysiders. He is a man out of touch. A man disconnected from the reality of his own city.
Once the speeches were done, the assembled crowd moved through the city, marching towards Parliament House. Mounted police roamed in packs. Traffic stopped. But more significant than such extraneous concerns were the protesters themselves - a unified whole made of almost 5,000 totally disparate parts. Every age, creed and class was represented. No two people looked as though their normal lives would ever lead them to cross paths. But together they were united against a man whose actions put them all at risk. Gotta say one thing for Mike Baird - he certainly is bringing people together.