On Wednesday, I joined my first protest: the National Day of Action against university fee increases, course cuts and deregulation.
The UNSW people were going to meet at 12pm to join the contingents from other universities outside UTS, so they were going to drive there. They were one seat short, so one sweet second-year guy called Matt offered to catch the bus with me. Matt had made a sign for the protest, and we carried it around with us on the trip there. It was really heartwarming to see strangers who would stop us – as we walked through Central a CityRail worker told us he supported our cause and mentioned that he went to uni, there was a guy who stopped us near the top of the escalator to take a photo of the board ‘as part of his society and youth project’ – it was a pleasant surprise.
So we walked to the outside of the UTS main building and waited for the USyd group which came marching down Broadway (as in actually on the road where all the vehicles drive), speeches happened (Lee Rhiannon gave a speech!) and then off we went, down the same route to USyd.
We passed a construction site, and we waved to the workers there who cheered back; some people who would drive by would honk their horns or cheer in support which was awesome.
There were a bit more shenanigans, and lots more police, but the protest ended well, and Xink and I left at around 3pm and I managed to score a free sausage sandwich as well.
It was really exciting, and it’s hard to put into words the atmosphere of a protest; it’s something I encourage you all to try one day!