It disappointed and upset me that Victorian Police forces moved in today on protestors who were occupying the middle of Melbourne. Based on a decision by Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu and Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, the police were told to physically move protestors, who were occupying Melbourne's City Square, out of the area and to "give the square back to the citizens of Melbourne".
As a citizen of Melbourne, I had no problem with these protestors occupying the space. I do not think Mr Baillieu or Mr Doyle agree with me, especially with the upcoming visit of Queen Elizabeth II of England. How embarrassing would it look for Melbourne for the Queen of another country to visit, and find these "awful" protesters (and I say "awful" with a sarcastic tone) in the middle of the city? After all, they are protesting about the huge gap that exists between the haves and the have-nots (the 99%). Mr Baillieu and Mr Doyle are associated with the Liberal Party of Australia - a political movement that is interested in protecting the wealth of the wealthy. The visitor they are attempting to prepare the city for (ie. the Queen of England) is one of the richest persons in the world.
In what is looking like a media nightmare, it really is the 1% dictating the terms to the 99%. The politicians involved have also put the spin on, saying that professional protestors had joined the ranks of the peaceful protestors. How does a person become a professional protestor? Why did the Victorian Police just start physically battering protestors? Why did they not target the professional protestors? What is the criteria that makes someone a professional protestor?
Does anyone else wonder what is truly going on here?
KittyKat asked me, "What can we do?" That is when I told her that if the people in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya did nothing, then they would not have changed in their country (commonly termed as Arab Spring). I do not want to live in a country where politicians give lip service by saying "OK all you protestors, we get the message - move on now!" Mr Baillieu and Mr Doyle were just patronizing in their actions. Do we really want those types of people in charge?
I do not want to live in a country or a state where after I voice my opinion that I am told I am powerless and I have to move on. I would like to engage in a form of communication at a minimum, and invoke change as my eventual goal. The way Mr Baillieu and Mr Doyle managed the situation with the protestors was appalling. The world is watching!
Hopefully this post (or rant) has started you thinking. What can you do? If you are in Melbourne on Saturday 22.10.2011 see the reconvening of the protest for yourself. Bring your video cameras / cameras / mobile phones. Capture and document what you see. You may be witnessing the first steps of something much larger...