Drink Tank

Reclaiming our safety

Western Australians are fed up with drunken violence in the streets and are calling for stricter controls.

Hundreds of people including many politicians joined a march  through Fremantle to Reclaim the Night. Traditionally a protest march focused on sexual violence against women, this year many men, including a large group of unionists also joined the march because more and more, men are also subject to violence and abuse.

Drinkers have also started to protest against bars, pubs and clubs who allow people to get drunk, and are calling for bouncers to be stricter in selecting who they allow into the entertainment venues. The Sunday Times reports that nearly 50 per cent of patrons in a Night Venues and Entertainment Events Project survey claim they have witnessed drunken people being served at bars, while 30 per cent say they have had unpleasant experiences because of other people drinking too much.

Agents of the Drug and Alcohol Office were also sent to nearly 150 venues to check if they were breaking the law, and observed drunkenness among revellers in over a third of the premises.

I am personally aghast at the amount of drunks I see regularly leaving Fremantle and Perth pubs and one has to wonder what the liquor licensing and responsible service of alcohol laws mean if licensees don’t adhere to them.

The solution is to increase the fines, or to close venues that consistently serve intoxicated people more alcohol and allow them to drink till extreme drunkenness.

Before the street cleaners arrive in the morning, Fremantle often looks like a battlefield with vomit, smashed beer and wine bottles, broken windows, and discarded take-away rubbish litering the streets. It’s pretty disgusting to see what this planet’s supposedly most intelligent race gets up to when they let their hair down.

While five years ago I would feel absolutely safe to walk through my hometown after 10pm I am now far more reluctant to do so because of the anti-social and often violent drunks. I now consider which parts of the city I’ll have to walk through and make my decision to go out or stay at home based on that.

When I do go out to music venues or to meet friends nowadays I often drive to ensure my safety, but even that is risky with many drink drivers making the roads unsafe as well.

The anti-social behaviour of others impacts on my lifestyle and that of the responsible and law abiding people in our society. That is not acceptable. The people at Friday’s Reclaim the Night march represent a community that demands the right to feel safe in their own cities!

Roel Loopers

Roel is a professional photographer based in Fremantle, WA. He is passionate about life and people and is Freo’s most prolific blogger.

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