The Beagle Editor,
I participated in the short Extinction Rebellion awareness action in Batemans Bay on Saturday 19 October. We assembled on the greens near the Starfish Deli, a goodly number for a small country town. I found I knew only a few people, and none of the organisers. But then, I don't get out much. A young lady took command of organising the chants, and did it well. Chants? Who, me, chanting in public? But I soon found my voice. Singing all those sea chanteys has paid off over the years!
We crossed over Orient Steet, and headed down towards the intersection of North and Perry, which became the focus of the action. As we approached the Village Centre corner, I became aware of three burly uniformed security chappies, spread out across the broad welcoming stairs leading up to the concourse. Well, normally welcoming, but perhaps not so much today?
Above: edited still sourced from rally video Perhaps I'm just being supersensitive, but I got the distinct impression that they were there for a reason. They seemed to be taking quite a deal of interest in our group. Indeed, they only seemed to be taking interest in our group. And there was something distinctly intimidating in their body language....
Now, in my prior visits to the Village Centre, I don't remember seeing one security chappie, let alone three. Wouldn't that would make this an "unprecedented show of force"?
Hey, but maybe I'm blowing all this up. Maybe they were just there on their lunch break? I think it's time to invite the Village Centre Management to respond. Let's see, what would I like to ask them?
What instructions had been given to the security chappies, say if the group had chosen to attempt to climb the stairs en masse? (Not that that would be illegal.) What would they have done should a contingent, or several separate contingents of the group chosen to climb the stairs? (Not that that would be illegal.) What would they have done should a substantial number of the group decide to go do their shopping at the Village Centre at the end of the rally? (Not that that would be illegal.) What possible argument would the security chappies be able to call on in any of these eventualities?
We were just members of the public, taking advantage of our democratic and legal rights.
Previously referred to as Customers. Whether we will ever be referred to as Customers again may depend on the Village Centre's response to my questions above....