The protesters' real statement was arguably made at about 5pm on Sunday.
The 30-hour rolling blockade of the Newcastle Harbour on the weekend had, until about that point, been planned by its leaders and even "applauded" by the NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley (also the Member for the Hunter).
The protest organisers had submitted a notice of their intention to NSW Police well in advance of the weekend, commonly referred to as a "Form 1" letter addressed to the Police Commissioner outlining how many people were expected to take part in the action, where and when it would happen, for what reason, and who would lead it.
The Port of Newcastle had come to a standstill for the blockade, effectively waiting out the demonstration, and started up again almost immediately after it ended.
The protesters claimed they had stopped as many as eight coal ships carrying half a million tonnes of cargo. But, in a statement on Saturday, the port, citing safety concerns, said all vessels "irrespective of the cargo they are carrying or intend to load" were stopped.
There were no injury reports during the weekend, and, in most respects, everything went according to plan.
As the protesters' permit expired, a large group of supporters on the beach began to chant: "Floods, fires, famine, we are terrified. We shall overcome like a rising tide."
In a statement, NSW Police said they "gave ample time and warning to all persons who were on craft and posing a danger to themselves and others in the shipping channel", and after "final directions" were given, they began arresting people who "continued to commit offences".
Rising Tide organiser Alexa Stuart said on Sunday, November 26, that as protesters were arrested on the water, they were either "lifted" or stepped onto the police vessels and removed from the water.
But regardless of how exactly the protesters were removed, about 50 of their kayaks were not. Instead, the boats were left adrift in the current. Before long, they were scattered as far back as Scratchleys restaurant on the Foreshore, and into the middle of the harbour.
Ms Stuart said that as the kayaks got away, a pair of tinnies were employed to collect them again. However, officers on Horseshoe Beach did not allow protesters back onto the water to help the effort, she said.
Citing that those arrested were now before the court, Police did not respond on Wednesday to specific questions about how the boats got away or why they weren't collected, as those on board were removed from the shipping channel.
"All persons who were arrested and charged are now before the courts, and as such, we cannot comment any further," the Police statement said.
As the unmoored kayaks were gradually salvaged from the harbour on Sunday evening, the 115-metre BBC Marmara cargo ship was sailing under tug toward the heads, bound for Brisbane. A spokesperson for the port said that it was not delayed by the debacle.
Critics of the protest - and of direct action in general - tend to argue that there are better ways to make a point than through potentially illegal and potentially unsafe demonstrations.
The NSW Minerals Council boss, Stephen Galilee, who called the protesters "extremists", said coal exports employed more than 25,000 people in the state and were worth more than $70 billion nationally, but blockading the port had "no impact on global coal demand or supply".
But supporters say that when governments and corporations don't listen to the science (and sorry critics, the science is undeniably, categorically, on their side), making the argument "a better way" doesn't mean anything when their well-founded concerns go ignored.
Climate change is an immediate, real, and dire threat to the sustainability of life on the planet. It's also a complicated, wicked, and shapeshifting problem where there are no easily-defined, cheap, or immediate answers. Governments, corporations, and the community have had decades to come to terms with the climate and, in some respects we have had success. In others, real and vital concerns have been left woefully, shamefully ignored to the detriment of (literally) all life.
In the face of these problems, the effectiveness of protests isn't really the point. The weekend's protest wasn't anywhere near as dangerous, rash, or "extremist" as its critics complain (the level of planning probably made it about as much of a threat as jaywalking). The fact that a ship was being towed toward the heads moments after it ended, uninhibited even by the debacle of how it ended, proves that the action probably wasn't as effective as the protesters would have liked either.
The kayaks got loose on Sunday in the space between the legally sanctioned protest that arguably only delayed the world's largest coal port and the defiance, legal or otherwise, that came after it.
On Monday, John Max Wurcker, 65, and Isaac Leonard, 23, each pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Court to operating a vessel to inhibit others' use of the water. It's a fine-only offence. Of the 109 people arrested and charged over the protest, they were the only two refused bail. Mr Leonard was fined $600 and Mr Wurcker $650. The remainder of those charged on Sunday night are not in custody and will face court on January 11.
But, that doesn't mean protesting isn't a worthy action given the circumstances. When asked about the effectiveness of direct action, like the weekend's blockade, the University of Newcastle climate researcher Liam Phelan said civil disobedience was how social change is ultimately achieved.
"This is what social change looks like," he told me on the beach on Saturday.
"People think it's expected that women have the right to vote, but [the suffrage movement] started not that long ago, and the way that women got the vote wasn't simply through changes to policy and making the arguments and pleading. It was about actually getting out there, being thrown in jail, and doing civil disobedience. It was the right thing to do, and it was an important thing to do.
"We are at a similar moment here. The scale is similar; it's global ... There is no future for humans on this planet with us continuing to export coal from here."