Thousands of Sydney residents took to the streets on Saturday in protest over the infamous lockout laws that have been threatening nightlife culture in the Australian metropole.
The Keep Sydney Open Rally started at Sydney’s Central Station at 12:30pm before making its way to the Central Business District. The NSW Government introduced the laws in 2014 in response to antisocial behaviour in the CBD.
The rally’s founder Tyson Koh, DJ Nina Las Vegas and The Preatures’ Isabella Manfredi were the speakers during the central meeting point at Hyde Park.
Numbers vary on the exact turnout of the rally, but was supposed to be somewhere between eight and fifteen thousand people and is seen as a strong message to New South Wales Premiere Mike Baird.
The lockout laws were first implemented in 2014 and are meant to counter antisocial nighttime behaviour, street fighting and other social side effects to heavy alcohol consumption. The laws impact venues in Kings Cross, Darling Harbour, The Rocks and parts of the CBD, and come down to no shots being served after 10pm, no new customers let in after 1:30am and no alcohol served altogether after 3am.
The outcries against the laws have been based on the idea that they are severely damaging nightlife and music culture in Sydney. Another reason for protesting is the claim that the laws are putting Sydney’s reputation as a global city in jeopardy.
Last Drinks Coalition, a group of unions representing the state’s doctors, nurses, paramedics and police officers, spokesperson Dr. Tony Sara said the difference the alcohol-fuelled violence laws had made to Sydney streets was immeasurable.
“A 32 per cent decrease in assaults in Kings Cross is a statistic too great to ignore. These laws have saved lives,” she said, “This isn’t about stopping people from having a good time; this is about making sure that people get home safely at the end of the night. To reverse [the lockout laws] would be a travesty and would put innocent lives at risk.”
— peking duk (@pekingduk) February 21, 2016
— Nat Miller (@natmill) February 21, 2016