Undeniable show of force

Local residents marching along Bounty St in Lismore.
Local residents marching along Bounty St in Lismore. Northern Star

IT was the day the protest against CSG mining came to town.

And they came in their multitudes - families, friends, people in wheelchairs, kids on scooters, babies in prams, men on stilts, a bloke (we think) in a koala suit and dogs, dozens of dogs.

They came to Lismore to march the streets and let everyone in their path know that they believe CSG mining is a danger to the environment, to people's health and to the Australian way of life.

Under police supervision, they marched from Riverside Park down Victoria St, into Market St, then all the way into the CBD along Molesworth St.

They turned into Woodlark St, then Keen St and down to Conway St, where they headed back from where they came.

You couldn't miss them. The noise, the colour and the disruption to the normal Saturday morning traffic flow made sure of that.

And all the while they were intent on getting their message across.

There were signs from the most direct "No coal seam gas" and t-shirts declaring "Don't frack with me", to the emotive "Those who profit from the suffering of others are immoral" and "Please don't poison our babies".

"Can you hear us Mr George?" said another sign.

They were among the familiar trappings of a grass-roots movement that has brought together people from all walks of Northern Rivers life perhaps like no other.

It's not just what some describe as the "professional protester" element.

They are certainly part of it but it's clearly bigger than that.

Arthur and Marjorie Parkes live at Casino and also own a property in the Kyogle Shire.

They did not march and intended to head home before the concert swung into the afternoon, but they were determined to lend their support.

"We're obviously concerned about contamination of underground water," Mr Parkes said.

"We're frightened about what CSG from leaking pipes could do to the long-term future of our water supplies.

"And when water is affected, so too is food we grow."

Mrs Parkes said the couple normally didn't attend protests such as Rock The Gate.

"But this is so important," she said.

Topics:  coal seam gas, mining, protest




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