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Keep Sydney Open Announces New Anti-Lockouts Rally

"It will be bigger, louder and stronger than the one originally scheduled."
By Sarah Ward
January 22, 2017
By Sarah Ward
January 22, 2017

Sydney's lockout laws have kept the city talking since they were first announced; however, there have been more than a few reasons for discussion in the past few days. In what has proven a tumultuous week, Keep Sydney Open announced a new rally for January 21, a last-minute Supreme Court ruling stopped their plans, and three venues received a 30-minute extension to current cutoff times. Now, KSO have pledged to stage their third anti-lockouts protest on Saturday, February 18.

"We are announcing that the rally will go ahead at a later date, and it will be bigger, louder and stronger than the one originally scheduled," said KSO in a statement, which also highlights a second reason for the peaceful gathering. "This time we're not just protesting to draw attention to the lockouts, but we're fighting for our very right as citizens of NSW to gather on the streets and express ourselves politically."

Further details, including a venue, have yet to be revealed, but yesterday's cancelled event was due to team up with Sydney's ARIA-winning duo Flight Facilities. As fans would know, Flight Facilities has been continually outspoken in their opposition to the lockouts. After all, the duo played some of its first gigs after 3am at now-closed Kings Cross venues, including Hugo's, Soho, Tank Room and the Piano Room.

Flight Facilities were included in a group of artists commemorated recently in a KSO project, which paid tribute to closed Sydney venues and the artists who cut their teeth there. Flight Facilities have long been associated with Kings Cross's now-closed Piano Room, where Jimmy and Hugo met.

Keep Sydney Open does not see the 30-minute extension as a solution. Instead, the organisation wants to work with the NSW Government to implement a seven-point plan, as follows:

  • Developing best-practice policing strategies;
  • Investing in 24/7 public transport;
  • Implementing integrated urban planning reform;
  • Encouraging diversification of after-dark activities;
  • Establishing anti-violence education and intervention campaigns;
  • Incentivising well-run venues; and
  • Appointing a Night Mayor or office charged with managing Sydneyʼs night-time economy.

"A 30-minute extension will not be enough to reverse the damage being done to the cultural areas and small businesses that make Sydney an exciting place to be," said Tyson Koh, director of Keep Sydney Open. "Itʼs barely enough time to line up for the bathroom or get a kebab.

"For too long the debate about our city and how we live our lives has been dominated by misinformation and fear-mongering. We call on the lobby groups who support the lockout laws to enter the conversation about smart solutions, instead of clearing people off the streets."

The rally will be Keep Sydney Open's third. To keep up to date with developments, follow the event page over here.

By Jasmine Crittenden and Sarah Ward.

Image: Kimberley Low.

Published on January 22, 2017 by Sarah Ward
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