by Joe Montero
Day one ( 7 October) of Extinction Rebellion’s Spring Rebellion took off to a flying start. It was the first day of a week of ongoing disruption around Australia.
In Sydney, a crowd of around 400 at first marched from Belmore Park, to Broadway, near Railway Square, where they disrupted traffic. Thirty were arrested.
Hundreds carrying the coloured Rebellion Extinction flags took to Brisbane’s CBD, led by a pink boat on a trailer. In Canberra, hundreds more marched across the city’s Commonwealth Bridge and blocked three lanes of traffic. Similar disruptions took place in Hobart, Perth, and Cairns. Other centres have seen, or will see, Spring Rebellion actions.
Spring Rebellion’s is to build the Extinction Rebellion movement to a new level, as well as take part in the week of rebellion being carried out in more than 60 countries. The strategy is to disrupt business as usual, to drive home the message that we are in a crisis that demands urgent emergency action.
In Australia, the epicentre of the Spring Rebellion launch was Melbourne. Thousands joined in a series of actions. In the morning, sizeable crowd turned up at the building where Energy Australia’s headquarters Burke Street and then marched to the Victorian parliament building. The march finished at the Extinction Rebellion camp in the north of the city. This event was organised by Friends of the Earth.
The afternoon saw a march from the camp down Exhibition Street to Burke Street where the intersection was blockaded for a time. The the hundreds involved, then moved off, divided into two groups and blockaded intersections in different parts of the city. The tactic of dispersing from one point to appear at another, is called swarming.
Later in the afternoon and towards the evening peak, a much bigger march headed towards Russel and Burke for another blockade. By the time Burke Street was reached, the number swelled into thousands.
After this, a number of groups broke off to swarm, while the main body headed towards Flinders Street. Flinders Street Station, which had been blocked off by a major police contingent.
A further break saw a big contingent head off to Exhibition and Flinders Streets. where further major disruption took place. Back in Flinders Street, there were some arrests.
These actions demonstrated the innovative and creative methods being used, and designed to make the maximum impact, while adhering to the concept of non-violent action.
Speakers, slogans and conversations with individuals, made it clear that there is an understanding that political system is not working and is incapable of meeting the need. They suggest that this must be changed, and there must be a shift from relying on lobbying and appeals, to building rebellion till it forces through change.
The bottom line is that the political system can’t be trusted, and the concept of a People’s Assembly, according to Extinction Rebellion, is a means the deal with this.