'Keep Newtown weird and safe', say protesters

Issue 

King Street, Newtown ground to a halt on April 23 as some 500 locals took to the street in protest at the rise in homophobic and transphobic violence in the area since the introduction of the lockout laws.

The “Keep Newtown Weird and Safe” march was organised following an attack the previous weekend. Isaac Keatinge was attacked by a group of young men after leaving a party in Newtown. The men hurled homophobic abuse at Keatinge before the assault. Keatinge was treated at hospital and needed 15 stitches to a head wound.

The protest was organised by Reclaim the Streets, because: “An influx of queerphobic thugs on weekends [has] turned our comfortable little bubble into a dangerous warzone. People we know and care about are bullied, harassed, threatened and beaten. We should be comfortable wearing whatever we want, looking however we feel without fear of violence or intimidation.

“So we're trying to raise awareness about this, to protest this happening against the LGBTI community and to turn something negative into something positive by putting on a dance party and encouraging people to dress how they want.”

Photos: Jarek Gasiorek

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