'We Shall Overcome': A New Week Begins at Tunnel Picket
|Picketing 'fenced emptiness'|
Today is exactly a week since the legendary American folk singer Pete Seeger died at 94, in New York.
I spent all yesterday listening to his songs and those of the many musicians he had inspired - from Peter, Paul and Mary through Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen.
Seeger spent a life-time as an activist, refusing to bow to injustice in all its guises, and along the way he encouraged generations of activists to do likewise. His rendition of 'We Shall Overcome' became the hymn of the American civil rights movement. But as I walked to today's picket on the corner of Alexandra Parade and Smith Street through the dark balmy streets of Fitzroy, I found myself humming 'If I had a hammer'.
Actually this morning there was no need for a hammer. Or any other tools for that matter. We arrived to find the police guarding a wire-enclosed rectangle of empty grass, with no drill or other equipment in sight. Nonplussed, we lined up in readiness at either end.
|What's going on?|
We began to wonder if this site was a decoy and that drilling was actually underway elsewhere. Scouts were sent out but no activity was discovered in other places. This was all very puzzling, but at least it gave us a breather. And time to admire the sunrise, which, as you can see, was spectacular:
|View from today's picket line|
We also noticed some new arrivals.
We had not noticed the vest worn by this officer before and wondered if the timing of its appearance has anything to do with the introduction of the new draconian legislation to Parliament tomorrow. Perhaps the police are prepared to move instantly into the harsher response to picketers desired by Premier Naphine, so a 'Prosecutions' officer on site will expedite matters.
The other innovation was a new style Health Command ambulance, parked on the grass adjacent to the picket line.
|'New to us' Health Command Ambulance|
I chatted to the ambulance driver before heading off to work. He said that after some picketers were hurt last Friday, the police requested that a Health Command Ambulance be on site daily, with a medic in attendance maintaining half-hourly contact with headquarters. When I commented to the ambo that he didn't have much to report today, he replied ominously: 'Not yet.'
But I have been keeping my eye on twitter and all seems quiet. Picketers have abandoned the empty space and returned to the original site on the corner of Queens and Alexandra Parades, and as I write this at high noon, all remains quiet. What can this change of official strategy mean? is the question.
I'm not going to concern myself with it too much though, because I'm looking forward to more Pete Seeger over lunch.