"Blockade Demo" 12 May 1972

A Super-8 film of the "Blockade Demo" that marched through Brisbane city on 12th May, 1972.

It was called a "blockade" demo because US President Nixon had just ordered the blockading (bombing and mining) the harbour of Haiphong which is a major port and third largest city in North Vietnam.

A few days before this on May 8th, Nixon had defended his decision in a televised speech to the nation and the world. On this same day (May 8th), 150 students marched without a permit to central Brisbane in protest.

Two days later, on May 10th, there was another (earlier) "blockade demo" with about 200 protestors marching from the university to the Du Pont offices in Toowong resulting in clashes with police.

The next day, there was a molotov cocktail thrown at the building that did a considerable amount of damage (May 11th). It unintentionally damaged the floor below the Du Pont offices.

In this film shot on May 12th, about 800 marched to the U.S. Consulate resulting in violent clashes with police. I recall being roughed up a couple of times in scuffles while filming. There were 23 arrests that day.

One placard reads: "Stop The Mad Bomber" seen at 1' 39". This might refer to the Du Pont incident and/or it could be referring to the bombing of the CPA headquarters a few weeks earlier on April 19th (this bombing coinciding with the day of Hitler's birthday).

There is a sequence in the film starting at 3' 20" where a right-wing student (who will be familiar to many) takes objection to being filmed talking to a TV news cameraman. Nothing was said nor was there any other provocation apart from being filmed. The student advanced towards the camera several times without managing to make contact. Bronwyn Barwell was taking still photos of the proceedings and the protagonist managed to grab hold of her camera. You can see the ensuing struggle which was like some sort of eye-ball-to-eye-ball, Mexican standoff as they circled.