It is the little campaign that could… McDonald’s figured that this would be a brief protest that they would be able to move past quickly but things haven’t quite worked to plan.
We did some nonviolent direct action training with the community a few weeks back and they are an impressive bunch. Coordinated, articulate and dedicated – they are proving a force to be reckoned with.
In the last week they have gotten the kind of media that many grassroots campaigns can only dream of, with articles in the Australian, the Age, and the Sydney Morning Herald. Nightly news bulletins have featured them multiple times over this last big week, including the ABC and live crosses from morning shows like Sunrise. Even a positive editorial in the Herald Sun – no easy feat.
They have gained the support of construction unions who are refusing to work the site due to OHS concerns while the community picket remains, and the Deputy Opposition leader amongst many others.
It seems people across Australia are really resonating with the people of Tecoma who are willing to stand up to a big corporation. Prior to this direct action phase of the campaign – which has involved large pickets and a roof ‘occupation’ to stop demolition, there have been many creative actions with their now recognisable ‘gnome’ mascots, and large marches and gatherings, which have even gained international interest.
And the community remains strong in it’s commitment to nonviolence – they have publicly committed to peaceful action guidelines and remained calm, even in the face of security guards assaulting and pulling one of the ‘roof occupiers’ from the roof as she was dastardly enough to offer them a piece of her 50th birthday celebration cake. The conflicting reports of the security and the police (who weren’t even on the scene) are now the subject of an investigation.
We visited last Friday and heard the overwhelming support of almost every car beeping positively as they went past. You can check the photo album out here.
The facts are simple – the locals surveyed the community door to door and found out 9 out of 10 people did not support the McDonald’s. The council unanimously voted against it, and yet the decision was overruled at VCAT.
The community are calling for their wishes to be prioritised over those of a large corporate with deep pockets.
Twitter: #tecomaroars #savetecoma #nomaccasinthehills #burgeroff
It seems there is no place like Gnome – if you live in Tecoma.*
*obligatory gnome pun