Protesters bowed but not beaten

The large crowd at the Save The Jail rally at Memorial Park.
The large crowd at the Save The Jail rally at Memorial Park. Adam Hourigan

AS I write this, I wish the Grafton prisoners were still in Grafton Jail, their families in their homes close by, and the 107 workers had secured their futures and been released from the picket line.

I wish Barry O'Farrell rethought his decision, even delayed it to allow some time to deal with the upheaval.

I wish the trucks were back where they came from and we never had to anxiously wait the arrival of a Public Order And Riot Squad ever again.

However, as you read this morning our lives in Grafton will have changed from when I wrote at 8pm last night.

We can't predict what will unfold from sunset to sunrise.

We do know trucks are scheduled to arrive in the early hours.

We do know that picket line protesters, for fear of an otherwise peaceful, dedicated campaign being portrayed as something ugly, are planning to let the trucks transfer the prisoners from Grafton Jail, driving a stake through the heart of their hopes, prayers and wishes of a better solution.

As of yesterday afternoon, the men, women, grandmothers, children and the frail, who have braved this picket line since Saturday, planned to stand aside and turn their backs on whatever armed guards arrive: a symbolic meeting of opposites.

If it unfolds as planned by the time you read this, the tent city will be starting to move, the signs will be pulled down and Grafton Jail will be little more than an empty shell.

The camp fires will be put out but despite losing this battle we can't let the fire in the Valley's belly fade.

Topics:  employment grafton jail jobs prisoners protest

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