Despite police successfully thwarting Keep Sydney Open‘s plan to host a peaceful anti-lockouts march through Kings Cross tonight, it looks like plenty of punters will still be out in force. But instead of the streets, they’ll be packing out local venues.
Following news that KSO’s latest mass demonstration against the city’s widely scorned lockout laws has been banned by the NSW Supreme Court, some of the movement’s supporters have created a Facebook event dubbed ‘Occupy Kings Cross’, which is encouraging punters to head on down to the Emerald Aisle tonight any old how to “have a couple of bevans together” and support many of the local business that have been ravaged by the city’s fun curfew.
At the time of writing, over one thousand thirsty Sydney-siders have RSVP’d “attending” to the event, with another 1K listed as “interested”.
The event’s description spruiks it as a “PEACEFUL and FUN evening across all the venues in Kings Cross” and sends the message to prospective attendees that “If you care about your nightlife and don’t agree with the lockout laws, let’s get together at 8pm in Kings Cross to show we do care about the city’s [sic] businesses, venues, artists and more!”
It continues: “We should all be popping into a number of venues in Kings Cross including The World Bar, Candys Apartment, Kings Cross Hotel, Kit And Kaboodle Supper Club and the rest!”
The ‘Occupy King’s Cross’ Facebook event seemingly materialised at around the same time that Keep Sydney Open founder Tyson Koh issued an official statement regarding the Supreme Court’s rushed-through ban on tonight’s anti-lockouts rally (which FYI was set to be DJ’d by the legends that are Flight Facilities) similarly encouraging punters to hit the X anyway to show their support for local businesses.
“We urge you to go to the venues in Kings Cross and help bring vibrancy and excitement to that iconic part of our city,” Koh said. “But our rally will not be taking place.”
The KSO head honcho also expressed deep disappointment at the Supreme Court’s eleventh-hour decision to outlaw the rally, stating: “This state has told responsible adults when we can and can’t have fun, now it’s telling us when we can and can’t politically express ourselves.”
He also went into some depth justifying the movement’s decision to officially cancel the planned demonstration, explaining that the legal ruling meant that any supporters who dared turn out to protest the lockout laws in spite of the court’s decision could legitimately be arrested:
“The NSW Police Commissioner took Keep Sydney Open to the Supreme Court of NSW to prohibit Saturday’s rally. Their case was that a crowd of 7,000 people would be too dangerous to accommodate in Kings Cross. Prior to the lockouts, Kings Cross received 27,000 visitors per night. Keep Sydney Open maintains that the police’s argument could be applied to any protest or public assembly, and they could shut down any major political rally by arguing the size would create risks. It is the job of police to work with organisers to mitigate those risks, but the right to assembly and political free speech must come first. We oppose risk management becoming a cause to prohibit political assembly. When red tape gets this powerful, it should be a worry for everyone in our state.
Sadly, the court ruled in the Police Commissioner’s favour. That means the usual legal protections that apply to people at public assemblies, would no longer apply. Any of our supporters who arrived at the location, could be arrested for unlawful assembly or blocking roadways. Under these circumstances, we felt we could no longer go ahead with the rally.”
The whole thing comes following lockout law proxy “Casino” Mike Baird’s shock resignation as NSW Premier, regarding which Koh added: “There’s a new premier on the way and our cause is as vital as ever, we hope you will join us in the coming weeks: we’ve got a strong message to send. #KeepSydneyOpen.”
On that note, those planning on heading out to show their support for local Sydney venues tonight also have the option of popping in to The Oxford Circus on Oxford Street, which is hosting an honourary Mike Baird Retirement Party to toast old m8’s official smell-ya-later.
Take care of each other and party safe, y’all.
Catch Keep Sydney Open’s full statement on the rally cancellation below.
Gallery: The Best Signs From The Keep Sydney Open Rally (October 2016)