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.