About the Movement


To many people, the seven-day protest seemed “peaceful and not violent” at all. Calling in the riot-police resulted in changing the general sentiment and ambiance – making the scene confrontational and controversial. Victorian-premier Ted Baillieu and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle received a lot of criticism for their attempts to resolve the situation in such a manner.

Many officials previously stated that the resolution of the clash would be peaceful. The crowd would be dispersed in a quiet and uneventful manner. Interviewed just before the descent on the square, Inspector Mick Beattie said that there was no plan to arrest the activists, that the protesters and the police shared feelings of mutual acceptance and cordiality all through the week of occupation. It was simply the goal of the police force to induce the protesters to leave, without using violent measures. All the police wanted was to claim back the square for the people of Melbourne. Their strategy was to patiently persuade the demonstrators to leave.

Other policemen did not agree, however. It was their opinion that a clash of this sort can only end bitterly.

The ensuing confrontations resulted in the arrest of several people, some of them leaving the location with their hands cuffed. Some police officers were reportedly hurt in the fray. The protesters also reported grave injuries including eye gashes, blows on the face and neck, scratches and cuts, as well as injuries resulting from the use of pepper spray. Some children were also reportedly harmed in the subsequent fracas.

Doyle said that the decision was reasonable, coming as it were from the assessment that the protesters were a group of highly sanctimonious, self-important, and unrestrained individuals, motivated by several hard-core protesters who have made staging loud, violent, difficult and irrational protests their life mission. He said that the city is determined to keep people from setting up tents wherever and whenever they wanted to in the city.

Occupy Melbourne later demanded that a thorough public enquiry be done regarding the expulsion but no action was taken in this regard. The group eventually filed a report with the Australian Federal-Court, saying that a suspected violation of the federal-law was committed by the city council.

Mayor Doyle had previously put up accounts on Facebook and Twitter to gain election-campaign mileage in social media. Protesters began using these accounts to drum up sympathy for their cause and to make public their call for a public enquiry into their allegations of police brutality at the City Square expulsion. Doyle countered by deleting these accounts.

In spite of efforts on the part of the government, the supporters kept up their camp, sustaining hefty occupation which lasted for a whole quarter of a year until January of the succeeding-2012. This prolonged support was partially funded by local business, notably Goldstar Bartending. CEO Rob Doherty was quoted as saying, “There aren’t many times in your life when you have a chance to give back. I see myself as part of the 99%, despite being a business owner. This was my time.”

After the movement began, people have taken part in various assemblies, public gatherings, protest-marches, demos and the like to give voice to their concerns. To date it maintains camp on an intermittent basis to give express its views.

Flagstaff-Gardens were also occupied by members of the movement. On one such night, several protesters draped their tents over their bodies to annoy the members of the police force who appeared to disperse the group. The police tried to remove the tent by force from one member who defied their efforts. The protesters then appealed to all Occupy-members in other countries to “dress” in tents as a symbol of their fight for human-rights.

Thoughts on the Movement


The Occupy movement seems to be a valid, non-violent way of getting people to exchange ideas about the current state of affairs. It encourages people to talk about the present economy, about politics, and about possibilities for change if such is required. Such interchange of thoughts and ideas may be on the realm of views at present, but hopefully, some more tangible action may result eventually. If we view the movement from this perspective, it seems to be gaining some solid ground.

One other interesting facet of the Occupy movement is the absence of leaders. The movement seems to be galvanized by sheer force of social media. People on the internet help to spread the word, even if they are not physically present in the quiet demonstrations. There is no vital hierarchy of leaders and almost anybody who shares the same sentiments is allowed into the so-called “tent.”

One other effect of social media is that people from other countries tend to sympathize with people of other nations and their situation in a show of unity and team spirit. Issues affecting people of one nation become real to people overseas as well.

Detractors of the protest movement say that these protests “encroach on other people’s rights.” Some people raise their brows on this statement, though, questioning how much harm a handful of people camping out on a square that has seen better days can inflict on others. Even the complaints of violence by council members were countered by the general observation that there was no violence at all until the police descended on the group and drew force on them. Many individuals fail to see the violence in disobeying a call to leave the premises; this is what is referred to as civil disobedience, a phenomenon accepted by and large as part of history. As to the comments that the protesters have had their week-long chance to air their views, sympathizers comment that the right to assemble and to speak freely has no set schedules.

Many people seem to think that politicians are better off listening to what protesters have to say.


They may be more edified and enlightened by this action compared with the endless and dreary debates that go on and on in the parliament – taking more than the week given to the protesters.

According to its members, the Occupy movement allows people to give vent to their feelings. It gives them a venue for expressing their discontent. It allows them the option of sharing their thoughts with other people, and the possibility of coming across solutions which might work. All they ask for is the freedom to their voice, and a little space to converge in.