Photo essay: `Stop the coal rush!' -- people's blockade halts exports from world's biggest coal port

Ship movements cancelled at the world's biggest coal port, Newcastle (Australia) -- March 28, 2010 from jagath dheerasekara on Vimeo.

Photo essay and story by Jagath Dheerasekara

March 28, 2010 -- Newcastle, Australia -- A mass community protest at the biggest coal port in the world, Newcastle, succeeded in preventing coal ship movements all day. Hundreds of peaceful protesters occupied the harbour from 10 am.

Naomi Hodgson, spokesperson for organisers Rising Tide Newcastle, said: “Today was scheduled to be a busy day in the world's busiest coal port. Ordinarily, there would have been at least four or five coal ships moving in or out of Newcastle harbour today, but instead there were none. This an amazing demonstration of the power of peaceful mass action by the community. Hundreds of people united to protest the rapid expansion of the Australian export coal industry – this country's number one cause of climate change.”

“We succeeded in not only shutting down the harbour, but in showing the political leaders in this country exactly what true leadership on climate change looks like. If Australia is serious about climate change, we will put an urgent stop to the expansion of coal, and begin replacing this devastating industry with safe and renewable alternatives.”

Australia's coal exports account for more greenhouse pollution than all onshore sources combined according to environment activists and scientists.