THE Northern Rivers has been declared "gasfield free" in a symbolic ceremony witnessed in Lismore's Riverside Park by thousands.

An estimated 5000-strong crowd from all walks of life - academics, farmers, healthcare workers, and students to name a few - fronted up to the natural ampitheatre to hear the declaration, which was followed by a long column march through the Lismore CBD. 

Placards declaring opposition to gasfields among the crowd made it clear that every corner of the Northern Rivers was represented. 

The regional declaration follows grass roots efforts over the last three years to have 142 communities declared gasfield free, starting with The Channon in April 2012. 

Today's declaration, led by gasfield free vocalisers Ian Gaillard and Annie Kia, delivered four identical signs into the hands of volunteers to be staked at entrances to the southern, eastern, northern, and western corners of the region.

"These signs are going at the portals of the Northern Rivers... as close we can get it without getting taken away by the authorities," Mr Gaillard declared.

"The important line is at the bottom," he explained.

"'Protected by community'. That's us."

"We've done it at the seismic tests, we've done it at Glenugie, we've done it at Doubtful Creek, and we've done it at Bentley."

"And we've done it through all of our actions in this campaign over the last four and a half years.

"But the work is still to do.

"Remember this. It's up to us to keep this place gasfield free."

After the jubilant declaration the march through Lismore was a peaceful affair with Richmond Local Area Command Inspector Bill McKenna praising the crowd as very well-behaved.

A festival-like atmosphere has marked the event with speakers and live music and food and information stalls continuing at Riverside Park throughout the day.



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