Occupations in Sydney and Melbourne have been violently broken up by police in the past few days, but the Occupy Brisbane camp at Post Office Square is going well so far. At this stage, there is no sign of police or Brisbane City Council harassment.
A general assembly of the camp was held at noon on October 23. About 100 people attended.
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The main discussions were about how to respond to the police evictions of the Occupy Melbourne and Occupy Sydney camps. While no threats from police have been received so far, that could change at any time.
Discussion focussed on how to defend the camp with non-violent resistance, and planned to quickly mobilise supporters to defend the camp, especially if a police raid occurred in the early morning as in Sydney.
The need to seek broader support, including from unions, was emphasised.
Following the assembly, there was music from the group Jumping Fences. Also, the first seminar of the new “Free University of Brisbane” presented to about 150 people.
Veteran activists Jeff Rickertt, Dan O'Neill and Ian Curr gave talks about the radical history of Brisbane, from the 1912 General Strike, to the 1960s civil liberties and anti-Vietnam War movement to the right to march campaign of the 1970s against the Joh Bjelke-Petersen regime.
The previous day, about 150 people attended a rally at noon at the Occupy Brisbane site in solidarity with the Occupy Melbourne protesters.
Chairperson Ewan Saunders did a great job of rallying the crowd, and long-time radical activist Gary MacLennan gave a rousing speech denouncing the capitalist system and expressing support for the Occupy Melbourne demonstrators.
Occupy Brisbane spokesperson Kate Haskett described the achievements of Occupy Brisbane in its first week: marquees, information stalls, food tent, an IT tent providing Livestream of the event (home of the Social Media Group), community assembly meetings every evening, movies, music, and endless discussions every night.
Up to 30 tents are now established in the square. She said that people have kept coming to the site, to discuss the issues and bring food and goods to the occupation.
After the rally, the audience decided to march on the footpath around the city block to express the movement's themes to city crowds: "We are the 99 per cent," and "This is what democracy looks like."
An article appeared in the October 23 Brisbane Courier Mail titled, “Occupy Brisbane protesters at Post Office Square praised by police for peaceful approach to vigil”.
The article said: “Authorities are so far happy with the conduct of Occupy Brisbane protesters, who have maintained their vigil at the CBD's Post Office Square for more than a week.
”Police said about 30 tents had been pitched in Post Office Square, but that unlike in Sydney and Melbourne, the movement showed no signs of escalating into violence."
This is clearly a complete distortion of the truth about the Melbourne and Sydney occupations, and covers up the blatant police brutality involved in the evictions of the demonstrators in those two cities. Efforts will be made to clarify the facts for the Brisbane public.