The Guardian November 20, 2002


Reclaim the Streets Adelaide 2002

by Bob Briton

Adelaide's third Reclaim the Streets (RTS), which took place in the city 
centre last Friday, was a very different event to those of previous years. 
It was smaller and less ambitious in line with the expectations of the 
organisers who called on the public at fairly short notice. The decision to 
hold an RTS this year was taken to rally local support for the demands of 
the demonstrators outside the WTO gathering in Sydney last week.

Given these unusual circumstances and limitations, the event still managed 
to have to a big impact on the streets of Adelaide. People gathered in 
Hindmarsh Square where they chalked anti-globalisation, anti-war and other 
anti-corporate slogans on the much-used footpaths. They also listened to 
music, threw Frisbees and played Twister.

This year's RTS was again that strange but very successful mix of street 
party and political protest.

The participants then started their totally unauthorised march through the 
main streets of the CBD, stopping at major intersections for more slogan 
chalking, game playing and interacting with the many onlookers. In Rundle 
Mall the protests and chants got louder in front of banks and McDonald's 
outlets. At one point the procession was entertained by two Aboriginal 
women who were busking in the Mall.

The entirely unpredictable march eventually ended in Victoria Square. The 
Police had accompanied the protestors along the route but, aside from one 
incident where a Police motorcycle collided with a participant's bicycle, 
played an unobtrusive role.

Participants in the event were happy to have been able to give voice to 
their solidarity with the actions in Sydney to protest the meeting of the 
World Trade Organisation taking place at Homebush.

The activists that spoke to The Guardian were confident that, while 
the event brings together people from a variety of anti-globalisation 
perspectives, there is coherence in the demands of the movement.

The mainstream media seems bent on hiding this fact and pro-system 
spokespersons like NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr are happy to exploit this 
blurring of the issues. Fortunately, growing numbers of people are starting 
to actually listen to the analysis and demands of movements like Reclaim 
the Streets.

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