Occupy Melbourne takes to the streets again

The Occupy Melbourne march to the Treasury Gardens grew to at least 1000 people on October 29. Photo: Jody Betzein

Despite the police brutality faced by Occupy Melbourne protesters just over a week before during their eviction from City Square, Occupy Melbourne returned to the streets on October 29.

About 500 occupiers assembled at the State Library with the same anti-corporate message and a louder voice.

After the meeting at the State Library, there was a march to Treasury Gardens where the general assembly (GA) was held. During the march, the numbers swelled to 1000 or more.

A consensus vote at the GA decided that Treasury was not a suitable place to hold the occupation given the large number of police and the threat to arrest anyone attempting to erect structure. Another proposal, to occupy Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy got little support because it is a 40 minute tram trip from the city, well away from the political/economic centre of Melbourne.

It was decided to occupy Bowens Lane, just inside RMIT City Campus.

Word was given by police that the City of Melbourne Council had instructed them to remove any tents or permanent structures erected anywhere within it’s jurisdiction. Not only that, but the council also issued warning that anyone who resisted police taking down these structures would be arrested for obstructing police.

These factors contributed to the decision made at the GA that Treasury was an unviable alternative and other options should be assessed. Bowens Place was decided on.

Police presence was again heavy and intimidation tactics were again obvious to attendees, however that didn’t halt the occupation from gaining more momentum, and members of the 99% demanding direct democracy.

The march from Treasury to Bowens Place was again under the watchful eye of police. However, there was no violence.

The uniformed presence increased as protesters assembled at RMIT, and the attitude remained festive. However RMIT management didn’t waste any time in issuing notice to the crowd that they were trespassing on privately owned property; as hypocritical as that is for a public university.

The GA decided on the State Library as the next site of the occupation, and further discussion is scheduled on the matter for the next assembly at 4 PM on October 30.

If the movement continues in the same way as it has been for the past two weeks, despite the police violence and harassment, we could see the emergence of a sustained movement in Melbourne seeking to make the interests of the 99% heard.


I just read this article. Who writes this rubbish? RMIT is a private university that receives government funding. That doesn't make it public. It's private. Why is occupy Melbourne using products that were designed by the companies that occupy Melbourne protest against? Why didn't they move off when the police asked them to? They were warned that force would be used. Protesting is fine, but they got out of hand. Can someone enlightened me? I don't see the point to this (how you're going about the protest. The only message I got was that the protesters want to fight our police).
"Who writes this rubbish? RMIT is a private university that receives government funding. That doesn't make it public. It's private." Perhaps before you dish out harsh criticism you should check what you're writing about. RMIT is a public university. It is set up by legislation of the Victorian government and has no private owners: "The Australian higher education system comprises: 39 universities of which 37 are public institutions and 2 are private [Bond and Notre Dame]" http://www.deewr.gov.au/highereducation/pages/overview.aspx . Only public universities, listed in Table A of the 2003 Higher Education Act, can receive the full range of public funding for teaching and research and only students enrolled therein can receive the full range of benefits. Post-school education in Australia has been increasingly marketised to its great detriment but no institution has been privatised, nor is any likely to be. It is entirely appropriate that such a public institution be used to freely discuss major issues such as alternatives to the system that has brought about a disastrous financial crisis, the fact that a small group of unelected and over-paid senior managers having more say what goes on their than the institution's students and staff and the general public notwithstanding. Nick Fredman.
There is a growing dissatisfaction with RMIT, at RMIT and beyond. The reason the Occupy moved into RMIT on Saturday, was no coincidence but also to Occupy it. A decision of 'Occupy Melbourne' to join in solidarity with the 'Occupy RMIT University' event planned on the day. (https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=167124456709539&ref=ts) OCCUPY RMIT UNIVERSITY (facebook event) Casualisation, redundancies, increased workloads, courses axed, limited facilities and poor working conditions, slashes to courses, merging of subjects into meaningless clusters by non practitioners, cut contact hours, degrees which International students have been working towards and are (by international standard) no longer recognised in their own country: RMIT's history of extreme behaviour: taking out unwarranted and illegitimate intervention orders on students and staff openly questioning management decisions, and of calling in hoards of police to quell any dissent or dissatisfaction at the University (a history of details of recorded in the event information), - must be seen within the context of the effects of the marketisation of Universities and the commodification of human knowledge. "The neo-liberal assault upon Universities as places of learning - Universities as forums within which ideas are taken seriously, and citizens are provided opportunities to critically reflect upon society and the ways in which the powerful seek to exercise that power - must be stopped. We would also like to add that menacing behaviour on the part of RMITS unscrupulous management can and must be resisted, and that this resistance can be successful.' (Occupy RMIT University comment) The hidden cost of RMIT’s profitability, and apparent, -censorship of concerns by those at the University, has come at a high cost for staff, local and international students paying a high price for their education, and the affects are far reaching, The effect of cuts imposed by RMIT management on related industries for example vary and in many cases have a disastrous social impact upon that industry. Fine art students for example, are being taught to keep their head low and toes the line because of the example made of students and staff speaking out. A $78.6 million dollar profit for RMIT in 2010, was recorded by National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Australia's specialist national union solely representing staff in tertiary education,http://www.nteu.org.au/library/view/id/1575RMIT - details on senior exectutive salaries also specified here• These high salaries are at odds with the status of RMIT as a public institution and in the context of cut imposed by it's management, sounds like theft to most.. "NTEU members on the receiving end of the myriad of both serious and petty cost-cutting measures will be relieved to hear that despite what you may have been told RMIT is not in fact going broke" "RMIT can no longer realistically call itself an educational institute. It is primarily a big business. It's aims are now that of a multi-national corporation: grab as much money as possible; expand across the city like an octopus; trample on the human and legal rights of staff and students alike; support management at all costs, no matter how badly they perform; cut contact hours to below the international minimum requirements" (Occupy RMIT University, comment)
Out of hand protesters at this occupy? are you kidding?? The only people out of hand are a handful of unelected overpaid manager/adminisrators at RMIT, one mayor of Melbourne, and a police force serving their interests. And may I remind you, fhe role of the police is to protect people not attack them. The role of public servants is to serve the public not bash the public. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2251331807315.2117550.1368844037&type=1&l=340032314c
RMIT is no longer a place where freedom of speech can be expected. Universities have traditionally been places where ideas can be freely expressed and where dissent is be tolerated. The recent history of RMIT seeking to stifle those who question it is appalling. In April of this year artist and lecturer Steve Cox was sacked for complaining that the Fine Art course was no longer recognised internationally. When he went public with this information, Pro-Vice Chancellor Colin Fudge and the head of the art school, Professor Elizabeth Grierson attempted to get an intervention order passed in the Magistrate's Court against him, to shut him up. They dropped the case with minutes to go before the hearing. Several months later Fudge attempted the same trick with a student who questioned the management of their course. They dropped this case also. RMIT's record in this regard is outrageous. No wonder that they ordered the police to use 'whatever force necessary' to move protesters on. Interestingly, Grierson resigned on Friday having been told that her contract would not be renewed in February.
Nick FREDMAN. RMIT is public. Ok. But it's treated as private property. Scheduled public property. So it doesnt matter who ones it. You can't send up a tent there. Like you can't set up a tent in a highschool. So you maybe right but my poit is you just can't set up tents everywhere. The Police are there to enforce the Law. Laws are there for a reason. Maybe you should travel to a lawless country one day and see what its like.