S11 – This is What Democracy Looks Like – 2000

S11 was the code-name for the protest against the World Economic Forum meeting of 11 September 2000 in Melbourne, Australia. The blockade of the Asia Pacific Summit of the WEF was an amazing event to experience with tens of thousands of people peacefully blockading the Crown Casino beside the Yarra River where the meeting was held. The police erected barricades which greatly assisted the task of blockading the many entrances to the building. Blockading also entailed occupying the three major arterial roads that all pass by the casino complex, including the Crown Casino carpark which was blockaded to prevent any vehicles moving in or out.

Some of the delegates, perhaps 50%, were resident in the Crown complex. Most of the delegates who were in other hotels were unable to enter by vehicle. A few were ferried in on police launches and by helicopter to the roof. Attempts were made to get people in to Crown Casino by vehicle in the morning. These were largely unsuccessful, but did precipitate police horse charges and baton charges on blockaders.

The atmosphere of the protest was a feeling of determination and of festivity. There were puppets, humorus graffiti, banners and placards, songs, wandering drummers and minstrels. The crowd was equally diverse with trade unionists, environmentalists, social justice activists, high school students, children, pensioners: a strong diversity of people united in opposition to an undemocratic and powerful elite.

This Actively Radical TV documentary shows what happened with interviews of blockade participants and live footage of the blockade and protest.