Small turn-out for march despite range of protest issues

27 Mar
The issues people protested against were as varied as the reasons for the smaller than expected turnout. Pictures: Laura Cocks & Jessica Lamb

The issues people protested against were as varied as the reasons for the smaller than expected turnout. Pictures: Laura Cocks & Jessica Lamb

By Laura Cocks and Jessica Lamb, Bond University Journalism Students

The Gold Coast March in March event last Saturday suffered a disappointing turn-out for reasons as varied as the issues people were protesting.

The protest marched along the Esplanade in Surfers Paradise but only drew a small crowd compared to the large numbers that attended Brisbane’s march the week before.

March in March events have taken place in capital cities around Australia throughout the last month to protest against the government and their policies and reported to have attracted 80,000 people.

Co-ordinator Deb Gann said the March in March movement operated at a grassroots level with no alignment to any political party.

“It was set up as so many of us are unhappy with the direction that current government has taken in the past six months,” she said.

march3“They have a variety of policies which are detrimental to people who need the most help.”

Despite almost 1500 people showing their support for the event on Facebook, organisers only had 301 people registered as attending on the day.

Some protestors blamed a delayed permit for the small numbers as it caused the march to be postponed for a week.

“More people would have come if it was on the original date planned, but it didn’t happen because we didn’t have a permit,” said protestor Karen Peters.

Ms Gann said the error with the permit was the fault of organisers not police as some protestors had been saying.

“Basically it was due to the organisers being young and enthusiastic but with no events experience,” she said.

“Local police were happy to accommodate the march but wanted to ensure the route was safe.”

People marched for a mixed bag of issues, with signs representing everything from asylum seeker rights to national parks.

Protestors were united by a sense of anger and frustration.

Coominga resident Helen Brennan said she had travelled more than 180km to be at the march and had also attended the same event in Brisbane.

“We seem to be seeing a rise of extreme economic policies which totally disregard the most vulnerable and ordinary people,” Ms Brennan said.

“I am frightened with the direction the government is taking and I feel obliged to stand up.”

Ms Gann said organisers were happy with the diversity of the crowd, which included families with children as young as five to veterans of 70.

“We were happy with the spirit of the amazing people that were there,” she said.

“Sometimes they just couldn’t make a sign big enough to put all the issues on there!”

A spokesperson from the Gold Coast Police said five officers were present during the proceedings however it was a peaceful protest and there were no incidents requiring police attention.


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