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Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Occupation

The Occupy Sydney Occupation in Martin Place has been continuous since October 15 2011. On 23 October the NSW Police, we believe illegally, used approximately 100 Riot cops to enforce a City ordinance (based on a wilful misinterpretation). Those events will be the subject of a High Court challenge beginning 7 March ( High Court, King St & Macquarie St).

The occupation was continued by Occupy stalwarts Bob Peter and supporters who maintained a presence despite extreme police presence, with up to 25 cops maintaining a twenty four hour watch on the area. On the 5th November a reoccupation Rally was attempted initially in Martin Place, then Hyde Park. Again the Riot squad were used to break up the reoccupation group. 

A Greens City Of Sydney councillor tabled a request on 7 November that Occupy Sydney be allocated a prominent Protest position somewhere in Sydney. A bloc of councillors led by Mayor Clover Moore voted against the proposal, offering instead that Occupy Sydney avail ourselves of the same processes which have consistently worn people down and been ineffective. An immediate autonomous reoccupation of the original Martin Place space by a small group followed. 

 From Nov 7 to December 21 the Occupation continued at the original site. A decision was  made by the occupiers to relocate a block west along Martin Place to our current location on the corner of Elizabeth St. near Channel 7. This decision was effected to allow a Jewish Festival  at our original location to proceed uninterrupted by our presence.

At all times the occupation has been mindful and respectful of the publics right to use space and we have wilfully located to offer minimal impact on the public thoroughfares and resources in the area. We have expanded and contracted the occupation to accommodate the numbers or lack thereof) at all given times.

   NSW Police have adopted what can only be described as a policy of applied State Terrorism carrying out numerous raids (up to four a day). We believe that their overarching objective was to drive fear of persecution into those who occupied and those who were considering supporting us. During many of these raids Police removed Occupy Sydney property. Much of that property has not been returned.Police have stated that they have declared much of the property rubbish and dumped it. Included in the items missing are many political posters and signs informing the public of NSW Police's excessive use of police powers and leveraging non existent laws. At no time have police issued receipts for the property taken.Nor have they quoted any legislative or regulatory breaches which they were enforcing. Proceedings are in progress in relation to these matters and we anticipate that charges will flow against individual police officers and their chain of command.

 The Occupy message has unfortunately been distorted and diluted by interaction with police. Much of our time has been spent defending our right to Protest and articulate peacefully, unfettered by the government whose inertia and collaboration with TransNationals is the problem that Occupy addresses.

   Occupy Sydney is NOT a protest movement in the sense that we don't pretend to have all of the answers. Occupy Sydney know that there are problems and that unless a discussion happens among the people in the peoples forum these problems will never be fixed. 

 The Occupation is a reminder to all that public space is the property of the public- not for the exclusive use of corporations to market their wares nor a mere thoroughfare between commercial centres.Public squares are where people should feel free to discuss - if these discussions are not held now we leave a legacy of less for our descendants because we will have permitted a greedy few to destroy more in the name of increasing their wealth. The Occupy Sydney Occupation is located in Martin Place because it is Australia's Wall St -the financial centre surrounded by the National & Transnational Retail and Merchant Banks who consider us mere commodities to be toyed with as a means of advancing their Greed driven interests.

 The Martin Place occupation is here and a canvas to accommodate your questions, facilitate your ideas. Bring them to our general assemblies, Mon & Wed 6-30pm Sat 5-30pm at the Martin Place occupation. Or join our working groups

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