Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter

Advertisement

Federal

Oct 21, 2011

Doyle breaks up the Occupy Melbourne party in the city square

Victoria Police have acted on Lord Mayor Robert Doyle's demands to evict members of Occupy Melbourne from their indefinite camp in City Square, calling in the force's shield-wielding riot squad to disperse the tent city.

User login status :

Share

Victoria Police have acted on Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s demands to evict members of Occupy Melbourne from their indefinite camp in the City Square, calling in the force’s shield-wielding riot squad to disperse the tent city.

As Crikey‘s deadline approached a core group of about 100 supporters were continuing to resist the overwhelming police presence with the officers employing controversial “kettling” tactics to box the stalwarts in.

A tight ring of around 200 police were corralling those remaining with other loyalists occupying the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets. Police then descended, physically pulling protesters out of the intersection.

Click here to view Crikey’s Occupy Melbourne photo gallery

Much of the camp’s infrastructure — present on the site since last Saturday — had been removed and binned with around 100 protesters linking arms in a show of defiance. The kitchen and media tents were gone this morning with the remaining scaffolding piled into a council truck.

Yesterday, council offers presented occupiers with an eviction notice under the Council’s Activities Local Law 2009 which apparently prohibits camping and “hanging or placing objects” over the square. They were required to move by 9am today.

3AW host Neil Mitchell was quick to get his great mate Doyle on the air this morning to condemn the convergence. Then, on the program’s regular ‘Left & Right’ segment, former unionist Bill Shorten said the occupiers had “had a fair go” and it was “time to move on”.

Premier Ted Baillieu had also backed the eviction.

Police arrested at least two protesters this morning who were led away in handcuffs, despite earlier statements the dispute would be resolved peacefully.

Throughout the stand-off, members of the CFMEU joined in the chanting outside the square, which included the group’s trademark cry of “we are the 99%”, “we shall not be moved” and perennial favourite “the people united will never be defeated.”

Police had erected temporary fences around the perimeter of the protest site in a variation of the kettling tactics seen in the UK. Unfortunately for the Melbourne incarnation, the City Square seemed almost purpose built to hem the masses in, with attendant media perched on elevated vantage points on the square’s perimetre, which increasingly resembled a football field.

Victoria Police tactics are sure to be heavily scrutinised. At one ugly juncture a police horse trampled a protester when riot squad and mounted police charged on the Collins and Swanston intersection.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sKD8QmnxI8[/youtube]

Melbourne City Council is divided on Doyle’s decision to boot the dissenters, who are mobilising against corporate greed and inequality. Greens councillor Cathy Oke slammed the Lord Mayor’s decision to send in the cops, telling Crikey she was totally unaware of any looming action.

“I certainly didn’t endorse this action or decision to bring in riot police and fences to remove peaceful protesters,” she told Crikey. “The only discussion that I’ve ever about this was earlier on the week. It is incredibly unfortunate because I thought that Council was dealing with it with appropriate manner and then you see riot police in there. It’s sad, it’s really sad that Melbourne and the City Square looks as it does in the international media and on Twitter.”

At an impromptu doorstop this morning, Inspector Mick Beattie denied that police were preparing to arrest activists, citing a good spirit of cooperation across the six days of occupation.

“These people are going to have to leave. Our primary objective at this time is to avoid confrontation. We’re prepared to be very patient. We have enough resources to reclaim the land for the City of Melbourne,” Beattie said.

“We don’t really want to arrest people…We just want to patiently work through it and hopefully the wind will come out of their sails in due course.”

But other police disagreed. “It can only end in tears,” said an anointed police liaison officer, wearing a Jeep-branded hoodie.

(Undercover police were swarming over the square covertly filming the protesters in unconvincing “casual” attire — the main giveaway being loose-fit jeans that chafed with the skinny black strides favoured by actual activists).

Click here to view Crikey’s Occupy Melbourne photo gallery

One protester, Nicola Paris, said she had been arrested for taking pictures of police who — in an echo of the Melbourne S11 convergence — had apparently removed their name tags, a claim denied by Beattie.

Another protester David Schoeffe, said he was planning to stay put regardless. “Practically speaking it’s going to be awhile before I get hungry so I’ll be here until I get arrested,” he said.

“Amongst others, I don’t believe that just Robert Doyle could have orchestrated this.

While relations between the council and police and the protesters had so far generally been cordial and constructive, the rare alliance between Doyle and his bitter Liberal factional enemy appears to have born fruit.

Another semi-official spokesperson for the group, one-time Greens candidate Nick Carson, summed it up best as the riot squad bore down: “four million people around the world are doing this and it’s not going away.”

Above photographs taken by Sexenheimer.

Andrew Crook —

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

Get a free trial to post comments
More from Andrew Crook

Advertisement

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola

163 comments

Leave a comment

163 thoughts on “Doyle breaks up the Occupy Melbourne party in the city square

  1. Scott

    If you look up that Melbourne Council Activities Local Act, you get the following

    Part 2: Behaviour – Prohibited activities in public places
    2.1 A person must not in, on or within the hearing or sight of a public place:

    cause or commit any nuisance;
    adversely affect the amenity of that public place;
    interfere with the use or enjoyment of that public place or the personal comfort of another person in or on that public place;
    annoy, molest or obstruct any other person in or on that public place;
    defecate or urinate except in a toilet or urinal (as the case may be) in a public convenience; or
    commit an indecent or offensive act; or
    use any threatening, abusive or insulting words

    2.2 A person must not in or on a public place:

    destroy, damage, alter, mark, deface or remove any property or thing;
    walk on or over any plant bed, plant box or garden plot except with the consent of the proprietor;
    cause risk of personal injury or damage to property by climbing or walking on or over, sitting on or sliding down any structure, building, fixture, free standing object, appliance or equipment (other than play equipment or recreation and fitness equipment installed by the Council) except with the consent of the proprietor;
    after having been directed to leave by an authorised officer, enter or remain in any area, place, building or structure that is not open to the public; or
    enter any area, place, building or structure in respect of which the Council has prescribed an entry fee, unless the entry fee has been paid to an authorised officer or authorised representative of the Council or the person enters in accordance with the written consent of the Council or the proprietor.

    The protestors are pretty much “adversly affecting the amenity of that public place” and they have “after having been directed to leave by an authorised officer, enter or remain in any area, place, building or structure that is not open to the public”. So it is no surprise they are getting the boot.

  2. geomac

    A rich family can illegally build a swimming pool on public land and a year later its still there. The council and I presume the state know the pool is illegal and have taken steps to remedy the situation but as yet big money has prevailed. So peaceful protesters on public land need a riot squad for six days but a leaking pool illegally built remains while the legal process drags on. If the leaks create soil slippage down to the beach who is responsible ?
    If a local person on PAYE builds a cubby house and council objects you know that cubby won,t be there shortly after. Thats in part what those people are protesting against , one rule for the mob and one for the money bags. If we abuse our credit card we get cut off but if the big boys do it to us we the public are expected to be last in line to be paid. Banks etc are first off the rank to get paid whats left from the wreckage and us as in unsecured creditors I think is the term are last.
    I,ve been keeping an eye on the posts and would have commented before but although on a pension just haven,t had the time needed. Long ago in my teens working 6 days a week I watched the moratorium marches and felt they were worthwhile but I never joined them. I felt the Viet Nam war was wrong but protests were things others did not printing apprentices. I have often regretted I didn,t join those anti war protesters and thankfully my number didn,t come up in the draft. What a lotto to win/lose that would have been. As an aside nobody I knew or associated with were ever disrespectful to returned aussie Viet servicemen and am puzzled about alleged abuse of such people. Is it more that institutions like the RSL didn,t accord them the same respect as WW servicemen rather than the joe blow in the street who had no bias at all ?

  3. TheTruthHurts

    [“It seems TTH and his “the law is always right” attitude would have been right at home in 1930s Germany.”]

    The law isn’t always right. But in this case it was.

    A minority of trouble makers had setup camp in the middle of the city. A clear health and safety violation not to mention the fact they were getting in the publics way and wrecking small business owners from making a profit. To me and most Australians thats unacceptable. These people needed to be moved on.

    Now at 7am these socialists were told they would be given 2 hours to pack up and leave. Plenty of time for them to do this. At 9am they were still there, so the police arrived. Now to those saying the police were too heavy handed, the police did not move in until 12PM, so 3 hours later.

    So the socialists had been given 2 hours to pack up, and a further 3 hours to comply with the order and yet they still refused to move. Because the reality is and the left can keep lying about this… these socialists were NEVER going to leave peacefully. They were waiting exactly for this police action to happen. It’s what professional protestors like this mob live for and they get great joy getting dragged out by the scruff of their neck by the police and then playing victim. They love it and the police obliged.

    [“One wonders if he would be cheering the violent “moving on” of Carbon Tax protesters so enthusiastically.”]

    Have seen videos of the Anti-Breathing Tax rallys and no one there is violent unlike leftie rallys. Apparently the only thing the left could whine about was Ditch The Witch posters, boo hoo. Must have missed all those anti-howard rally’s with Howard the Coward, Bush’s Bitch and Arselicker. The left are a joke.

  4. geomac

    LISACRAGO

    We are not at war and why do you assume we are ? No declaration of war as in Menzies WW11 and none from Howard about Iraq or Afghanistan. Bush and likewise Howard didn,t ask citizens to make the supreme effort to fight a war but instead provided tax cuts to the better off. If as you claim we are at war its a claytons war and only foolish people swallow the claims of desktop warriors like Bush or Howard.
    How many of our civil rights or democratic liberties have been reduced because of this bogus war ? You want conscription back ? Well I guess you aren,t in the age bracket suitable for conscription are you ? You think conscription applies to all equally but it doesn,t. Bush cake walked through his by the charade of land based pilot service , no Nam for him. Uni education is another form of delay or avoidance from conscription. Howard didn,t even do the three month conscription that was in force back in the day. Hows that work out ? Whitlam served in the air force in WW11 while Bradman served in the USA as a ” diplomat “.
    You may think protesters go for fashionable causes but there is no way you can assume such a thing. People follow many causes but not all for the same reasons or support one and not another. Some don,t support by marching but donating or just sticking up for a cause at social function like a BBQ.
    Anyone who loudly supports conscription and by default conscripts going to battle is usually above the age to be conscripted and has a way of avoiding their offspring from having to do what their asking others to do.

  5. Archer

    They had their chance to put forward their grievances and make their voices heard. They got the publicity they desired. Their actions will accomplish absolutely nothing. If they want to change the world do it through a legitimate means by finding employment in a relevant field or becoming involved in politics. This isn’t Lybia, we are a fortunate people. We don’t need a grass roots revolution because we live in a wealthy western democracy. Australians are the hardest working people in the world and the majority enjoy an excellent quality of life. This 99% figure is rubbish. The people who have been left behind, the unemployed, elderly, disabled, those with mental issues do have a safety net, but I agree they should be looked at and increased dramatically.

    The protesters disrupted traffic, public transport and commuters. They used toilets and facilities reserved for businesses and caused attendances to local traders and cafes to drop dramatically. When asked to leave they ignored the request and joined themselves together with cable ties.

    They feel disenfranchised and without a voice. When a dreadlocked twenty year old with a nose ring, converse runners and anarchy’ T-shirt yells “I am the 99%, they have everything and I have nothing”, all credibility goes out the window.

    They have a voice, it’s called a vote. I have no sympathy for them.

    P.S. They’re lucky they’re not dealing with the German riot police. I watched how they dispersed a similar crowd when I was working in Europe.

  6. geomac

    ” Poor people protesting against the rich is just so passé. ”
    My view is different in that the protest is about the big firms/banks and their overpaid staff not being accountable for the damage to various economies. The CEO who gets a handsome bonus for a job not well done. The companies too big in government opinion to let their mistakes feel the economic affects that would befall anyone else. Rio Tinto etc raking it in yet squealing like stuck pigs at the thought of raking in slightly less.
    Is that CEO providing better value than someone in the armed forces, the fire brigade or a police force ? In those lesser paid professions there are repercussions if there is a dereliction of duty or at least the means to address breaking rules or being reckless. Those same CEOs seem to spruik more regulation for average workers while demanding less regulation and tax for their companies. Witness the types who have recently called for an increase in the GST are also the ones who want company tax breaks.
    GEOMAC, I will be sure and ask the next group of australians on rotation to enjoy their “policing action “.
    While your at it ask CFA members to enjoy the approaching summer. Policing action , war or fighting fires , the term means little if death occurs. Unlike the CEOs those in various services take the consequences when events go wrong even if not at the forefront when signing up. I myself wouldn,t ask service people to enjoy a stressful situation but wish them well. I remember looking at the sky on black saturday and thinking as the afternoon sun was blotted out , how will they cope ?
    They meaning not only the CFA but anyone in the fires path.

  7. Jimmy

    “Polls aren’t elections. Do not use them interchangeably.” No they aren’t elections but do you think that Rudd would of been rolled if his Poll numbers didn’t tank? Do you think Rudd would of been rolled if the 99% had of been behind the RSPT? It wasn’t that the corporations made the call, the 99% did.
    And what happened when we did go to an election, the 99% got to have their say and democracy worked?
    “You can call it stupidity if you want. Personally I draw distinctions between stupidity, ignorance and deception.” It’s not hard to inform yourself, watch lateline or 7.30, read the herald sun during the week and the Age on Sunday, read a crikey article once in a while, think for yourself. If you make no effort to inform yourself you can’t complain when you are deceived.

    “Fundamentally, there are a bunch of people who are concerned about the direction Australia is going (basically turning into a mini-America) and want to stop it.” Where is the evidence of this? Our wealth distribution is going the other way to America? We have a parliament where we have a legitimate third party, not so in America. We have been able to implement a carbon tax, paid parental leave and we will have a MRRT. We are making moves towards disability insurance, we have the PBS and Medicare. None of these things would be remotely possible in the US but are in grained here.

    And this “bunch of people” a few hundred in each of Melb and Sydney? I suppose that classifies as a bunch.

  8. drsmithy

    No they aren’t elections but do you think that Rudd would of been rolled if his Poll numbers didn’t tank? Do you think Rudd would of been rolled if the 99% had of been behind the RSPT? It wasn’t that the corporations made the call, the 99% did.

    And what happened when we did go to an election, the 99% got to have their say and democracy worked?

    Polls aren’t elections. You are conflating them. Again.

    It’s not hard to inform yourself, watch lateline or 7.30, read the herald sun during the week and the Age on Sunday, read a crikey article once in a while, think for yourself. If you make no effort to inform yourself you can’t complain when you are deceived.

    Somehow I don’t think the people protesting are complaining because they think they’re not informed.

    Where is the evidence of this? Our wealth distribution is going the other way to America? We have a parliament where we have a legitimate third party, not so in America. We have been able to implement a carbon tax, paid parental leave and we will have a MRRT. We are making moves towards disability insurance, we have the PBS and Medicare. None of these things would be remotely possible in the US but are in grained here.

    The rise of the Greens is a recent phenomenon, and has been largely at the expense of the other major party. What we have is a two-party system where both parties are coalitions.

    Medicare suffered mightily at the hands of previous Liberal Governments, as did many other publicly-funded organisations.

    Politics is becoming ever more partisan and content-free, driven largely from the Right, just as it did in America.

    Common media sources are becoming more opinionated and less informative, again mirroring the US experience.

  9. Archer

    @Alexander Berkman

    Have you ever been put in an unfortunate position of having to respond?

    I’ve discussed many topics with contributors here, it may become heated but we keep it civil. You seem to be incapable of that, thus you do your cause no favours.

    I didn’t write “kick a bit of arse”, I wrote “Some people need their arses kicked”.

    Uniformed representatives of the corporations? I’ll leave that one for you.

    “Tough guy cops draggin out much smaller people by their hair and smashing their heads into the concrete.”

    We’ll know more about this in the next few weeks however, what part of “Move on” didn’t the protesters understand? I just watched quite a few of the youtubes available, it seems to me that the ones who moved on were untouched or ushered away. The ones who refused were manhandled and dragged.

    “Fyi, Cable ties are also used by cops to handcuff people and I can tell you they like to see your hands go purple.”

    Yes, and I’d say your hands do go purple, but then I’ve never been in a position where I’ve been handcuffed. Nor am I dumb enough to cable tie myself to a human chain or cyclone fence.

    “last time I looked, we the people had a right to protest”

    Yes you do, but I don’t believe you have the right to set camp in the CBD.

    “to demand change from our ‘elected officials’ and that is what the Occupy protests are about.”

    I am stuck with a carbon tax I didn’t vote for. You are probably happy we’ll have one. My demand for change is my vote, so is yours.

    “dreadlocked” – And just to help you along, this the only word in the whole of Reubens post which correlates to anything he accuses me of.

  10. Alexander Berkman

    @ (jeffrey) Archer

    “Have you ever been put in an unfortunate position of having to respond?”

    to you and others of your ilk, sadly far too many times….

    “I didn’t write “kick a bit of arse”, I wrote “Some people need their arses kicked”.

    nice distinction there eh – I’ve seen enough people having “their arses kicked” by cops for crimes such as trying to stop the closure of a primary school (richmond primary), at a ‘fair’ for death merchants (Aidex ’91), etc etc -the list is huge and long and it seems your knowledge of the history of the police force as a tool for state repression and corporate protection is akin to an ostrich with it’s head in the sand..

    “We’ll know more about this in the next few weeks however, what part of “Move on” didn’t the protesters understand? I just watched quite a few of the youtubes available, it seems to me that the ones who moved on were untouched or ushered away. The ones who refused were manhandled and dragged.”

    Watching quite a few eh, I guess you must really get off on seeing those ‘lefty’ types getting “their arses kicked”….

    Yes, and I’d say your hands do go purple, but then I’ve never been in a position where I’ve been handcuffed. Nor am I dumb enough to cable tie myself to a human chain or cyclone fence.

    No I’d say you don’t really stand for much except the staus quo, and I ain’t talking about the band…

    “I am stuck with a carbon tax I didn’t vote for.”

    the cards are on the table jeffrey – anti anti anti anything that attempts to make this world a better place eh..

    how about you stick to the pages of the australian where you can drool over janet’s pieces or pump your fist in the air over at the herald sun whilst reading the bolter…

    au revoir mon petit chou-fleur

  11. Jimmy

    SBH – “All right Jimmy, here’s what I think, the right to protest outweighs the right to drink coffee. Happy now?” In a word No. My point goes further than drinking coffee, what if the tea party wanted to hold a rally at the square at the same time these protestors were “occupying it” which protestor rights are greater,or what if an awards ceremony was to be held for young people who had contributed greatly to the community (as was the case), why should that be less than their right to protest?

    Dr Smithy – “Polls aren’t elections. You are conflating them. Again.” No I am not, I am pointing out that the cause of Rudd’s downfall was terrible poll’s, these polls weren’t caused by corporations (as you suggested) they were caused because a large proportion of the supposed 99% didn’t support him.

    “Somehow I don’t think the people protesting are complaining because they think they’re not informed.” No they aren’t, you said they were “complaining about more than just what happens at the ballot box. The massive influence wielded on the mainstream media (and by extension most aspects of public opinion)” So they are complaining that the 99% they supposedly represent aren’t informed! In other words, if the masses weren’t so ignorant they would support us which a condescending to say the least.

    “The rise of the Greens is a recent phenomenon, and has been largely at the expense of the other major party” Exactly, which is evidence that we are not moving towards an American system we in fact are moving the other way.

    Finally the big difference between the US and Australia is this , New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million of his own fortune in his last election campaign, Hilalry Clinton spent $212m to lose the chance to even run for President. The federal election here was just a fraction of these costs and largely funded by the taxpayer.

  12. drsmithy

    No I am not, I am pointing out that the cause of Rudd’s downfall was terrible poll’s, these polls weren’t caused by corporations (as you suggested) they were caused because a large proportion of the supposed 99% didn’t support him.

    You mean the lack of support generated by propaganda from corporate-controlled media sources ?

    So they are complaining that the 99% they supposedly represent aren’t informed! In other words, if the masses weren’t so ignorant they would support us which a condescending to say the least.

    That doesn’t make it wrong.

    Exactly, which is evidence that we are not moving towards an American system we in fact are moving the other way.

    The confrontational, divisive and shrill tone taken by politics in Australia over the last decade is absolutely moving towards the American model.

    Finally the big difference between the US and Australia is this , New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million of his own fortune in his last election campaign, Hilalry Clinton spent $212m to lose the chance to even run for President. The federal election here was just a fraction of these costs and largely funded by the taxpayer.

    I didn’t say we were at the point America is at now, I said it was headed in that direction. How did campaigning funding look 30-odd years ago ?

    But as I have asked SBH- when a public space should be availabel to all of the public why should one group be allowed to occupy it at the expense of others – shouldn’t we all have the same access?

    Which works both ways. Why should the protesters be kicked out for someone else ?

  13. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – “You mean the lack of support generated by propaganda from corporate-controlled media sources?” Again look at the cigarette packaging, same propaganda, different result. As I said the ability to inform yourself is there, the govt even ran ad’s to make it more easily assessable.

    “That doesn’t make it wrong.” Assuming the 99% you supposedly represent is ignorant and uninformed because they don’t actually support what you want them to is very dangerous.

    “The confrontational, divisive and shrill tone taken by politics in Australia over the last decade is absolutely moving towards the American model.” And what have the electorate done inAustralia in response to that tone, moved to the greens and independents. Australians have a third option, Americans do not.

    “I didn’t say we were at the point America is at now, I said it was headed in that direction. How did campaigning funding look 30-odd years ago?” Where is the evidence for this? The two examples I have given weren’t even for the equivalent of a federal seat. In the 2010 election both major parties got about $20m in taxpayer money for the campaign which reduces the need for massive donations plus the donations are to a party, in the US donations go to a person, and a person who isn’t bound to vote along party lines, very different situation.

    “Which works both ways. Why should the protesters be kicked out for someone else?” True and they were given 6 days, more than enough time to make their point. They got touse the public space (under the pre text that they would move one when asked), now it is someone else’s turn.

  14. Liz45

    Just one comment re the ‘difference’ between the peoples’ right to protest and the welcome to the President of Sri Lanka. That sums up the attitudes of our govts, corporate media and all who support the war mongering, wealth ‘making’ parasites allowed to do as they please in the world, while a couple of thousand peaceful protesters are turned into criminals.

    TTH and his ilk obviously have no issues with those type of people. The US goes around the world killing anybody and everybody they perceive to be a ‘threat’ while they mouth platitudes about democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech blah blah! Sickening!

    If the police are going to just ‘move people on’ and/or arrest those who refuse, why do they spray capsicum spray into young peoples’ faces, and why remove their name tags and/or badges etc?

    The Victorian police have a reputation as just being one step ahead of the Queensland cops under Belke Petersen? NSW is catching up in the violent stakes?

    I went to a peaceful rally in Sydney last year to support aboriginal people in the NT re being paid like the non-aboriginal people standing next to them. There were many police with their vehicles, and even a riot vehicle – totally unnecessary and over the top? There were people representing Unions, The Greens etc who made speeches of support but no hint of any trouble.

    At a recent evening out for indigenous people, perfectly fine, no hint of even a protest, the place was taken up with police. These are not isolated incidences!

    I went to a rally last year, held at the Sydney Town Hall, which was packed out – standing room only. The rally was to support the Equal Pay case. After the rally we walked to the offices of the Employers First Offices, accompanied by police on horses – totally unnecessary – again.Most of the people protesting were women, as they make up the majority of workers severely underpaid by the injustice and inequality of wage policies? There were banners, whistles, people wearing T shirts, but not a hint of disharmony or ‘anarchy’? I was angry at the police presence! Unnecessary, over the top and deliberately intimidating! There was in excess of 3,000 people – not one hint of a problem!

    There were workers at the rally in Melbourne. There were senior representatives from several Unions. It was the police who created the violence – and they did it deliberately!

    I’ve read articles where those against the Rally in Melbourne canvassed/harassed business people hoping to get them to angrily oppose the protesters? Some business people said that their comments were misrepresented/misquoted? Fancy that?

    MSM aren’t going to support these protesters as they’re a glaringly obvious part of the 1%? They support the wars, the racism, the ageism, sexism and the injustices too many are suffering, because they benefit from the whole stinking set up?

Leave a comment