10am Sunday 13th July: 1000 people gathered at Islington Park in Newcastle for a rally and march to the Carrington Coal Terminal. It was a colourful and eclectic crowd of local residents, parents and children, percussionists, clowns, students, and concerned citizens from every state in Australia. Their message was simple and clear: let’s see renewables instead of more new coal.

After marching en masse along the coal train line, small groups splintered off and breached the fence to gain access to the railway. Despite police stationed along the both sides of the fence, clusters of people managed to wriggle past and would suddenly appear up or down the train line, leaping on top of the stationary coal train. On the outside, mounted police looked on while the crowd cheered each time someone appeared on the line or was escorted away by police.

During the day, over 50 people managed to get on to the train line and were arrested. Hundreds of others supported from the sidelines, cheering, dancing, drumming and remaining alongside the line until the last activist was removed. The action stopped coal trains from accessing Carrington terminal for the whole day.

On the part of the protesters, the action was peaceful and positive. It was well received by the media and demonstrated the extreme level of community concern about climate change. For many people there, it was either their first protest or their first arrest. Many expressed that it was an empowering experience that made them feel a part of a real community movement to ensure that this urgent problem is addressed. We look forward to a groundswell of ordinary Australians joining in to ensure there is real action on climate change.