On the final day I wandered down to the Centre for the final hurrah. On the way there, I watched as police charged on a group of protesters who were holding up a banner high in the sky with a big bunch of red balloons. The clash resulted in police popping balloons and destroying kites. Odd.
Last night people were arrested for flying kites. Something to do with the no fly zone. I wish I had a kite that flew that night. What a sight that would be! That quashed my hopes to fly my kite at dawn, so I joined a big group of protesters who converged at a side fence to make as much noise as possible to ensure the people inside could hear us. Unfortunately a helicopter above insisted on circling the group over and over again. I admired the persistence of the group of beautiful noise-makers (singers, rappers, performance artists) who took advantage of every opportunity to drown out the sound of the helicopter. It was a losing battle and an utterly unnecessary police tactic. They usually call people who pop balloons, destroy kites and drown out music party poopers. Well in this case I guess they were ‘protester poopers’ only topped off by ‘human rights poopers’.
The helicopter circled the group for hours. I had to leave to pack up camp and was glad to leave the noise behind me.
I made many, many a trip back and forth from the campsite to the bus to get all the gear on. Being part of a team or ‘solidarity group’ like the quality one I was part of inspired me to be helpful and productive and work damn long and hard – you have no right at all to whinge and moan at Baxter when you are as free as we are.
We stopped at Port Augusta where one of the local indigenous women told us a horrific story highlighting the very real racist treatment of Aboriginies by local council and police. Her words brought tears to my eyes that I let flow freely and unashamedly. But there was shame in me – so much shame.
My feet were sore and blistering, but I found another burst of inspiration to march against racism through the streets of Port Augusta, a city I so far away from my home but now so part of my heart.
Our bus drivers would not allow us to hop back on the bus unless we had a swim, so I enjoyed a freezing cold, fully-clothed dip in the ocean and no doubt hopped back on the bus smelling as clean and fresh as can be. haha!
The bus rolled away from Baxter IDC and away from Port Augusta, but a part of me will always remain in those two places. The reality of those two issues upset me, angered me and broke me more than any other issue I have ever stood up against. Being so close to the reality of the results of fear and hatred drained me of faith. Part of my fighting spirit stayed at Baxter and Port Augusta. I hope it helps to heal those two communities.
View my Baxter photos