For two weeks running, the Chogm Action Network (CAN) has had meetings of almost 50 people – double the regular attendance – as new activists have come into the movement inspired by the Wall Street Occupation.
Since March, CAN has been organising a protest for the October 28 opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Discussion at the two meetings has revealed that there is a lot of good will and common purpose among the activists now working together.
The first meeting agreed to work towards an #OccupyPerth action on October 15. The second meeting agreed to recommend to the October 15 general assembly that an ongoing Perth Occupation would begin on the day of the Chogm protest — October 28.
The second meeting took place after police had arrested three CAN activists in an attempt to try to intimidate the movement. A fourth was arrested the next day.
Police made allegations that a Chogm protest message was spray-painted on the grass in the Esplanade near a CHOGM flower bed. However, no charges have yet been laid against any of those arrested.
Nevertheless, they have had their phones seized (and downloaded) and their houses meticulously searched. One activist had his car seized, leaving him practically housebound due to a disability.
During their interrogations, it was made clear that police were more interested in the Chogm protest than the alleged property damage that was used as the pretext for the arrests.
Protesters are adamant that their protest plans will not be disrupted by this police intimidation.