Thousands turn out to protest Sydney’s lockout laws and ‘Reclaim the Streets’
Sydney club-goers have always been forthright in their indignation regarding the city’s infamous lockout laws, but a new breaking point has been reached. Thousands of city residents, hospitality workers, and DJs turned out for a ‘Reclaim the Streets’ anti-lockout protest over the weekend. The controversial laws being protested, which were introduced in the Australian city in February 2014, prevent people from entering a new venue after 1:30 am, and from buying alcohol after 3 am within certain designated districts. The laws are designed to decrease the high rates of alcohol-related violence in the city, but have been met with resistance from camps across Sydney society: politicians, the dance music community, business owners, and even actor Russell Brand. The laws, dissenters argue, limit business, culture, and freedom.
The march began at Hyde Park, and traveled with mobile sound systems through the designated affected ‘CBD entertainment districts.’ Protesters marched through the nightlife district of King’s Cross on to Taylor Square, where local DJs took control of the party. Police maintained a background presence throughout the day.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in June that lockout laws had sent revelers to the suburb of Newtown, where alcohol-related violence has risen 18% since the laws were enacted. Many smaller clubs in King’s Cross have been forced to close because of the loss of business they have suffered, including long-running favorite The Spice Cellar. Read more about the Reclaim the Streets movement on their Facebook page.