Murwillumbah CSG protest stops town in its tracks
WELL over 1000 people brought the Murwillumbah business district to a standstill by marching through the streets to protest coal seam gas mining on Saturday.
A smaller crowd gathered at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds from before 10am to hear a series of speakers, including national Lock The Gate convenor Drew Hutton and natioal head of Get Up Sam McLean, take a stand against plans for CSG mining in the Northern Rivers region.
Protestors travelled from as far as Grafton to be part of the crowd.
Lock The Gate Northern Rivers' Michael McNamara, who led the noon march through the streets along with Mr Hutton and Tweed mayor Barry Longland, said he was immensely proud of the turnout of people who demanded to have their voices heard.
"The local members and the ministers will refuse to listen to them at their peril," Mr McNamara said.
He said he was "thrilled" with the turnout and he was particularly grateful to the volunteers who had helped to make it possible.
Earlier Mr Hutton told the assembled people, many of them dressed in yellow and carrying a wide array of protest signs, that coal seam gas was not an environmental improvement from burning coal.
"Don't fall for the government line that CSG is a transitional fuel on the road to renewable," he said.
"They have no plan for that."
He advocated Mahatma Ghandi-style non-violent disobedience as part of the anti-CSG campaign and warned companies including Arrow Energy that the people's wishes would win out.
"We will use the power of the people to stop you," he said.
As the showgrounds crowd swelled beyond 1000 people the final speaker before the march, 8-year-old Carly Watson, told those gathered that no amount of commercial gain was worth the damage that coal seam gas could do to the environment.
"If we all work together we can made a difference and make a stand," she told the cheering crowd.
"It's not too late so lock your gate today."