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March in March Byron Bay: Locals unite

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(Clockwise from top left) Active kids show not all kids hate school; girls against gas whirl through; marchers remind us the "carbon tax" is not a dirty saying; numbers were large for a small town on the coast.

I gained tremendous uplift from the March-in-March in Byron Bay on Sunday March 16.

For a while, I have been working on a piece for IA about the eco-rape of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by Environment Minister Greg Hunt. As I worked and researched the article, I became increasingly depressed with the thought that he may get away with it.

He may be able to dump 3 million cubic metres of toxic dredge spoil inside the borders of the GBR Marine Park.

So when I heard that the March was on, I made immediate plans to be there, to swell the numbers, and to put my marching feet where my mouth was.

I was joined by IA commenter Dr Dog – possibly familiar to many of you – and his partner Erietta, who turned out to be a super photographer and grabbed these great shots.

Like all things Byron it was colourful to the point of day-glo and it made me feel good to see that I wasn't alone in my fight against the Abbott government.

The numbers in the area were high, the previous day Lismore held their march.

Lismore march numbers were estimated at between five to seven thousand — out of a population of 30,000.

In Byron, the town has a pop of 5,609, while the whole shire numbers 30,000 residents.

So the estimated numbers for the Byron march, 3,500, was a good.... scratch that... GREAT, turnout.

Marchers came with a horde of signs spanning every issue that the Abbott government are behaving badly on; actually it’s hard to think of one they are behaving well on.

Education, coal seam gas (CSG), asylum seekers, the attacks on the ABC, "carbon tax" — you name it they were all there.

CSG is big up here; 98% of Byron voted ‘No’ to it, along with 87% of Lismore’s population, yet Santos and the Abbott and O’Farrell governments still push the damn issue.

Being Byron, even a few getting a long run up at the day’s drinking – the march was at 11 a.m – held signs supporting the march over the fence of the Beach Hotel.

Many of the signs sought not to target a particular issue, but simply to indicate the signholder's displeasure with the character of the man.

Dog, Erietta and I walked inconspicuously at the back of the march and enjoyed the general feeling of just not being alone that day; of not being alone in thinking there is something rotten in the state of Australia.

If you too have been thinking that the reek of Canberra is beyond pestilential, then the weekend's marches showed, likewise, you are not alone.

And while the cynics print curses and say "who cares what a load of damn hippies think", I would point to the Vietnam war protests.

The cynics said: ‘no matter how much you protest, you are not going to stop the war’.

Well they were wrong then and the Marches-In-March showed that they will be wrong again.

The Abbott government can be stopped.

Erietta our super photographer (l) Dr Dog (c), and your correspondent (r).

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