Mass Dance Protest at UN Ocean Conference

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This last Wednesday, 29th of June, Rave Revolution staged its first mass dance protest outside of UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

The protest demanded that the United Nations sign the High Seas Treaty and condemn Deep Sea Mining plans globally.

un ocean conference dance protest
Dance protest hosted by Rave Revolution outside of UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. Credit: Joao Daniel Pereira

Another article you might like: Deep Sea Mining: what is it and why should we care?

The dance protest gathered over 400 people all dressed in shades of blue in front of a giant art truck rigged with a sound system, a jellyfish DJ booth and ghost nets collected from nearby Portuguese ports. World renowned DJs like Dixon, Cole Knight, Coletrickle, and Unders entertained the crowd at the protest. The protestors’ plan was to march from the conference location (Altice Arena) to Arrozz Estudios to continue the dance protest there with local artists Kokeshi, Nuno Lopes and Switchdance hitting the decks. 

Initially Portuguese police approved all permits and agreed with the plans even establishing themselves the location of the truck and the route of the march. Then once the truck drove up to the conference on Wednesday morning, they conveniently moved it a block away from the delegates, ignoring initially agreed upon plans. 

un ocean conference dance protest with young protestors
Young protestors on jellyfish truck. Credit: Aurelien Caoudal

What happened during the dance protest?

Despite police setbacks, the dance protest was a success on all fronts. Dixon on decks, kids dancing and protesting. The President of Palau gave a heartfelt and profound speech denouncing deep sea mining and its novel form of colonization upon Pacific Island States. Delegates from around the world stopped and took pictures with protestors, some let loose and enjoyed the mobilization that was taking place outside the serious doors of Altice Arena: “Hey boomers, we’ll dance until you listen” read the signs.

“Inspired by youth protests around the world, we in the dance and music festival community realized that combining the joyful ambiance of dance events with the visibility of protest activism can bring people of all ages toward awareness and action for climate justice.”–Emily Collins

At 8pm the police were supposed to escort the march all the way down Avenida Infante Dom Henrique. The music continued aboard the Jellyfish truck whilst everyone marched and chanted for two hours blocking traffic. Of course the police turned on protestors at the very last second, ignoring all previously agreed upon plans. Police was even pushing peaceful protestors and banner holders off of the streets with truncheons.

President of Palau Surangel S. Whipps JR at rave revolution dance protest Lisbon
President of Palau Surangel S. Whipps JR gave a speech to the crowd. Credit: Aurelien Caoudal

What is Rave Revolution’s Ultimate Goal?

“Rave Revolution was founded amid the pandemic by a group of like-minded people across several continents looking to unite the dance and festival community, environmental activists and everyone else concerned about the state of our planet.”–taken from Rave Revolution website

un ocean conference dance protest with Dixon
World renowned DJ Dixon playing on the jellyfish truck. Credit: Aurelien Caoudal.

The ultimate ask to governments’ is clear. It’s time to end the delusion of infinite economic growth and shift towards more inclusive metrics. eg. Genuine Progress Indicators.

Another article you might like: New Zealand changes GDP index for Happiness and Wellbeing

“It’s crystal clear that without major public uprising and civil disobedience, our leaders, both political and private, do not have the courage or vision to effect the system change required to bring carbon emissions down to safer levels, and to protect the biodiversity that keeps our planet alive.”–Thomas Diacono, founder of Rave Revolution Org.

un ocean conference dance protest
“Hey boomers, we’ll dance until you listen.” Credit: Aurelien Caoudal
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