PRESS RELEASES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, 12th November, 2012 

Calls for an independent inquiry in Occupy eviction gather momentum

Two of Victoria’s leading human rights and justice organisations today endorsed calls made by the Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team for an independent inquiry into the Occupy Melbourne eviction. The calls came on the back of the Support Team winning the prestigious Tim McCoy Award on Friday night, an annual Victorian award recognising outstanding achievement in human rights and social justice.
Liberty Victoria and the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres today welcomed the release of the Occupy Policing report and backed its call for an independent inquiry into the eviction of Occupy Melbourne protesters from City Square on 21 October 2011.
The President of Liberty Victoria, Professor Spencer Zifcak, welcomed the release of the Occupy Melbourne Report. ‘This is a well researched and cogently argued report that raises serious questions regarding the dispersal of the Occupy Melbourne protest in 2011’, he said. ‘The Occupy Melbourne protest was shut down by Council authorities more quickly than any other similar protest in any other city in any western democratic nation. In itself that is a source of very considerable concern.’
‘More than that, however, the information and evidence collected in the report suggests that the rights of demonstrators to freedom of speech and assembly may have been violated. These rights are protected by the Victorian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities and they are set down in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, an international human rights treaty to which Australia is a signatory. In other words, both Melbourne City Council and Victoria police may have acted illegally and in breach of Australia’s international human rights obligations. Because of this, Liberty Victoria favours the immediate creation of an independent inquiry to examine all the circumstances in which the protest was terminated’.
Federation of Community Legal Centres Executive Officer Hugh de Kretser said the report highlighted serious questions around the legality of decisions to break the protest up and provided strong evidence of unreasonable use of force by police. “This is an important report which underscores the need for an independent inquiry into the eviction. There are many examples where evidence of excessive police force, including capsicum spray, has been documented. More broadly, the report demonstrates the important role played by independent observers at protest events.”
The qualitative Report, Occupy Policing: A Report into the Effects and Legality of the Eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square on 21 October 2011, documents protesters’ experiences of policing and is available here: www.occupypolicing.org
A copy of the Report has been provided to the Office of Police Integrity, the Honorable Peter Ryan, Minister for Police, Melbourne City Council and the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. To date, none of these individuals or organizations have acknowledged receipt of or committed to investigating the contents and findings of the Report.

For media inquiries, call: Sara Dehm (0431 273 244) or Erin Buckley (0448 323 060), Report Coordinators and members of the Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, 31 August, 2012 – 05:00am

‘United Nations might weigh in against Robert Doyle’

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is considering a request to make a comment on the eviction of Occupy Melbourne.

“We emailed Human Rights Officer, Pol Planas asking if the United Nations because the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle will not respond to us.” Said Occupy Melbourne member Carl Scrase

“We have a right to express our concerns in our public spaces, as outlined in both the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and implied in the Australian Constitution.” Said James Muldoon who is one of the litigants taking the City of Melbourne to court of their handling of Occupy Melbourne.

All three of the City of Melbourne Councillors who supported the original call for an independent inquiry have reconfirmed their support.

“At Council I also put forward two motions so that everyone could better understand the events that occurred around the Occupy Melbourne eviction. Disappointingly neither Motion was past and we missed the chance for an important conversation not only within Townhall but across the community.” Said Dr. Cathy Oke, Councillor City of Melbourne

“I remain of the view that an independent inquiry and the report would have been most valuable in clarifying the complexities of this event and that Council failed to take this opportunity to learn from the way this event evolved in case Council should face a similar event in the future.” Said Dr. Jackie Watts, Councillor City of Melbourne

“I also supported a request for a report detailing the chronology of the key City of Melbourne actions and decisions leading up to the eviction in order to clearly understand the facts and to set the record straight. My position has not altered.” Said Jennifer Kanis who is now the State Member for Melbourne.

Professor Spencer Zifcak President of Liberty Victoria has added his voice saying “It is a serious matter when fundamental rights of this kind are displaced in favour of commercial considerations as happened in the case of the Occupy Melbourne protest”

Dr Alison Parkes who is the Greens candidate in the upcoming elections attacked Doyle in a recent policy announcement saying “The role of Lord Mayor must not be one of silencing dissent”.

The Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team is in the process of compiling a qualitative multimedia report into peoples’ experiences of the policing of the eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square on 21 October 2011.

Media contact: Carl Scrase – 0412 867 554
Media contact: Nick Carson – 0438 428 116
James Muldoon (Litigant): 0413 905 204

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, 30 August, 2012 – 11:59am

“United Nations considers a request to make a comment on the eviction of Occupy Melbourne”

 

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is considering a request to make a comment on the eviction of Occupy Melbourne.

Human Rights Officer, Pol Planas, is seeking more information about the events of October 2011 in Melbourne.

Any information/documentation regarding these allegations will be much appreciated. This can be sent to the Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team.

The Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team is in the process of compiling a qualitative multimedia report into peoples’ experiences of the policing of the eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square on 21 October 2011.

Please contact OccupyMelbourneLegal@gmail.com if you have any information that can be added to the Legal Team’s report or the Human Rights Officer’s investigation. The Legal Team can also send you a survey that will help you record your experiences and impressions.

As a reference please find a link to the thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association here:

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session20/A-HRC-20-27_en.pdf.

The report makes reference to many issues involving the right to peaceful assembly .

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, 20 August, 2012 – 2:00am

“Greens attack Lord Mayor Robert Doyle over handling of Occupy Melbourne “

Occupy Melbourne applauds the Greens strong policy initiative that relates to the Occupy Melbourne eviction last October.

http://www.melbournecitygreens.com/

The following responses have come from Occupy Melbourne participants in support of the announcement.

‎”It’s time all politicians respected the law in relation to freedom of political expression.”
-Nick Carson

“Upholding the right to protest is one of the founding cornerstones of a free and vibrant democracy ”
-James Muldoon

Robert Doyle represents everything that is wrong with this world. He is a greedy megalomanic that supports the interests of the 1%. We are part of a global democratic awakening that is spreading around the world. Occupy Melbourne and the Real Democracy movement will be hitting the streets around Australia again on Saturday, October the 13th. We ask citizens of Melbourne who are pro-democracy to join us.
-Carl Scrase

The Occupy Melbourne media team encourage investigative journalists to seek comment from Cr Cathy Oke and Cr Jackie Watts re Lord Mayor Robert Doyles handling of Occupy Melbourne. Please also not that Jennifer Kanis, now State Member For Melbourne recently reconfirmed her support of an independent inquiry.

The Occupy Melbourne media team directs all reporters to previous press releases for further detail.

http://occupymelbourne.org/media/press-releases/

Media contacts:

Media contact: Nick Carson – 0438 428 116
James Muldoon (Litigant): 0413 905 204
Media contact: Carl Scrase – 0412 867 554

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, 16 December, 2011 – 2:00am

“Lord Mayor Agrees To Talk With Occupy Melbourne”


The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, has informally
agreed to meet with and talk to Occupy Melbourne about
potential outcomes and solutions.

The informal agreement was struck yesterday morning during an on-air conversation between the Lord Mayor and Carl Scrase, a participant in Occupy Melbourne, live to air on Jon Faine’s morning program on ABC 774 Radio.

During the conversation the Lord Mayor stated his interest in discussing an outcome in which protesters “pack up and move on voluntarily” adding that “these are the conditions upon which [the City of Melbourne] are prepared to meet”, despite the fact that dictation of terms upon any peaceful protest by authorities and elected representatives remains an unconstitutional act.

As Occupy Melbourne is a people’s movement, occupation will only cease if either a proposal to such effect is passed by consensus at a General Assembly, or if the grievances and concerns affecting the broader community are met.

The Lord Mayor, Melbourne City Council and Victoria Police have come under international criticism over the use of oppressive tactics to prevent the growth of the Occupy Movement in Melbourne, a movement which was recently awarded TIME Magazine’s 2011 ‘Person of the Year’.

A fixed timeframe and location for potential talks remains to be set. Occupy Melbourne expects the issue will be raised at the next General Assembly on Saturday, December 17 at 4pm at the site of occupation. Occupy Melbourne is currently in its 62nd day.

Media contact: Carl Scrase – 0412 867 554
Media contact: Tal Slome – 0421 652 642
Media contact: Nick Carson – 0438 428 116

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For Immediate Release

3pm, Thursday, 8th DECEMBER 2011

Confirmation of Police Strategy of Intimidation”

 

At 6.00 pm on 7 December 2011 an 18 year old Occupy Melbourne protester was seized by a Melbourne City Council officer and arrested by Victoria Police for obstructing the council officer from removing his tent outfit.

The young man was lured away from the protest by the council officer and was quickly surrounded by up to ten police officers and stripped of his tent outfit. The man was then taken into a police van.

In the initial stages of the incident the man had not been told that he was under arrest and the legality of police officers’ actions was called into question by other protesters at the scene.

After approximately ten minutes the young man was taken from the police van and driven away in a police car.

The arrest follows soon after a similar incident where a young woman was publically stripped of her tent outfit and left crying on the ground in her underwear by Melbourne City Council officers and Victoria Police.

The increasingly aggressive strategy of Melbourne City Council and Victoria Police appears to conform to a long-term strategy to suppress the Occupy Melbourne protest through harassment and intimidation.

Chief Commissioner Ken Lay confirmed suspicions about police tactics in an interview with John Faine on the morning of 7 December 2011. Lay stated “the issue is, we back off, we move away, and we end up with another two or three hundred people in the park.”

For Victoria Police, Occupy Melbourne poses a political threat as it aims to draw attention to structural problems with the practices of Australian business and politics. The consequences of the protest are, according to Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, “just too difficult” to deal with.

“Occupy Melbourne protesters conceived the ‘Tent Monsters’ strategy to highlight the absurdity of the situation which has continued for several weeks. The Melbourne City Council has been issuing Notices to Comply for tents, blankets, food, tarpaulins and other materials to remove them from the peaceful protesters in an effort to prevent the growth of the movement.”

As part of World Human Rights Day (Dec 10 #D10), Occupy Melbourne is calling for Occupy protesters around the world to wear their tents for Human Rights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8WI_Nuqwl4

Media team contact – Wil 0466 603 414


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2pm, TUESDAY, 6th DECEMBER, 2011

Occupy Melbourne woman stripped in public by Police ”

This morning at 8:45am a peaceful Occupy Melbourne Protester was forcibly stripped of her protest costume and discarded on the ground in her underwear in public.

The individual in question was part of the Occupy Melbourne protest and was dressed in a protest costume made from a converted tent. The significance of the costume was to highlight restrictions placed on protesters staging a 24/7 protest in Flagstaff Gardens.

The protester was surrounded by at least 4 Melbourne City Council officers and 8 Victorian police officers. Her movement was restricted by the formation of officers surrounding her and she was subsequently restrained as officers proceeded to aggressively removing her costume.

At each stage she declared that she did not consent or feel comfortable with the actions of the council and police officers, stating that this was a sexual assault. “This is not consensual”, She said while the costume was being removed

Her requests and declarations were ignored as officers continued to rip and jostle her costume and person. A knife was requested and used by MCC Officers as the Protest Costume was cut from her body with blades. The remaining severed costume was violently torn from her body while the protester herself was choked, then discarded, semi-naked and crying on the ground as Vic police and MCC officers walked away with the costume.

No effort was made to assess her health or wellbeing after the incident nor conceal her disrobed body.

“How would you would feel if this was your daughter standing up for her civil and democratic rights?” asked media team member Sam Castro.

Media Contact: Sam – 0429 569 289

Media Contact: Tal – 0421 652 642

Links:

Viral tent monster hit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKMwigI3mdM

Tent monster video featuring Sarah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4NEKtYYYk0&feature=youtu.be

Video of the attack:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAkUB7jRb2c

Extended account of events: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSq6tPXJHZ4

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MONDAY 5th DECEMBER, 2011 – 2PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 “Melbourne City Council Continues Campaign

Against Occupy Melbourne”

This morning Occupy Melbourne was informed that Melbourne City Council would be attending Flagstaff Gardenswith the intent to have Victoria Police charge Occupiers under a long-forgotten bylaw.

This response is not only a sign that the Melbourne City Council and Robert Doyle are clutching at straws in their attacks against Occupy Melbourne but it also shows that they are becoming desperate in the face of Occupy Melbourne’s peaceful resistance to Council intimidation.

On Sunday afternoon Melbourne City Council attempted to confiscate tents and other equipment used by Occupy Melbourne in Flagstaff Gardens but were forced to retreat after the tents stood up and started running around them. In pursuing this latest recourse we have been informed that anyone wearing a tent will be arrested.

In addition to today’s action one Occupier has been specifically targeted for his dissent. Carl Scrase, an active member of Occupy Melbourne, recently announced that he would run against Robert Doyle in next year’s Mayoral elections. Over the weekend Mr. Scrase was contacted by a media outlet who alleged that Mr. Doyle had criticised Mr. Scrase for accepting arts funding during 2010 and then criticising Melbourne City Council.

“Mr Doyle claims that because I accepted an Arts award from the City of Melbourne, this precludes me of being critical of the actions of the Lord Mayor,” said Mr. Scrase.

Mr. Doyle’s criticism can only be summarised as a belief that those who receive grants and funding from Melbourne City Council should adopt a servile and non-questioning attitude towards the Council. This is further proof that Mr. Doyle considers himself to be more Lord and less Mayor.

“The City of Melbourne is an excellent institution – it is the current Lord Mayor that I have problems with. In Melbourne’s history, we have enjoyed many wonderful Lord Mayors, however Mr Doyle is not one of them,” he said.

Melbourne City Council has continued to escalate their actions against Occupy Melbourne with harassment of Occupiers being conducted every day for the last two weeks. Occupy Melbourne will continue to peacefully and nonviolently resist actions by Melbourne City Council and Victoria Police that we believe are unlawful and will not be taken in by the Council’s intimidation tactics.

Media Working Group Contacts:

Carl Scrase: 0412 867 554
Wil Wallace: 04 666 03 414

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SATURDAY 3RD DECEMBER 2011 .00PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Melbourne Free Uni Occupy City Square”

The Melbourne Free University and Occupy Melbourne will next week launch a series of seminars at City Square on Tuesday evenings.  This series will explore questions of how our economy, society and politics can be organised differently, which have again taken centre stage in the context of the global Occupy movement.

The series will invite academics, activists and other experts to explore radical practical ideas on how our world might be, in relation to topics as diverse as inequality, Indigenous politics, democracy, Australian politics, money, law, gender, climate change, economics and more.  This series will run throughout summer on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30pm, with a break for Christmas and New Years.  Each session will involve a 40 minute lecture followed by a 40 minute open discussion.

The first session is on Tuesday 6 December, with academics Justin Clemens and Jess Whyte discussing ‘Democracy and Human Rights’  Subsequent sessions address ‘Climate Change and Environmental Politics,’ and ‘The Anti-corporate Movement and Occupy.’

The details of the first three sessions can be found below.

The MFU is an autonomous organisation that aims to create a space for constructive engagement with ideas and knowledge for its own sake, rather than the more outcome-oriented education of the formal education system. We are completely  free and open – anyone can attend sessions regardless of their qualifications, and we do not take enrolments.  The MFU runs regular courses on topics ranging from political philosophy, to permaculture and sustainability, to indigenous issues, refugee issues, law, cinema and so on.  More information about the MFU can be found at www.melbournefreeuniversity.org.

Occupy Melbourne is the local incarnation of the global Occupy movement, and aims to challenge the economic and political status quo in Australia. For more information see: occupymelbourne.org.

We are trying to advertise this series as widely as possible, would you be interested in either publicising the details or interviewing one of the organisers?

For further details or to organise an interview, please contact MFU convenor and co-founder Jasmine Westendorf on 0450 223 056 or jasmine.westendorf@gmail.com .

MFU POSTER – citysquare

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WEDNESDAY 30th NOVEMBER 2011 2.00PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Serious Concern Over Melbourne City Council Conduct”

For the past 11 days the Melbourne City Council has engaged in a campaign of harassment, intimidation and bullying against Occupy Melbourne that has put members of the public at risk and wasted tens of thousands of dollars.

Instead of engaging with Occupy Melbourne in a civil manner or attempting to reach some form of compromise as has been seen in Orange County, California, Edinburgh, Scotland, Dunedin, New Zealand and Adelaide, South Australia, Melbourne City Council has instead resorted to hostility and violence.

Actions against Occupy Melbourne are conducted daily and have resulted in solar panels, kitchen utensils and food being cited as “portable advertising signs”. Melbourne City Council has also recently contracted a cleaner to wash chalk off the pavements, despite most of the chalk being washed off each night due to rain.

This, together with ongoing surveillance means that the Melbourne City Council is wasting huge amounts of taxpayer funds that should be going towards constructive causes.

Robert Doyle’s attitude towards the public has been made quite clear through the example of his actions against Occupy Melbourne and his response to concerns over the new bike lanes in Swanston Street. Melburnians should be aware and very concerned about Mr. Doyle as it is clear that he does not act in their best interests nor with proper consultation of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights.

We urge all Melburnians to contact City Hall and the Lord Mayor to make it clear that what Mr. Doyle is doing is wrong and that it will not be accepted by the citizens of Melbourne.

Lord Mayoral email: lordmayor@melbourne.vic.gov.au

Council phone: (03) 9658 9658

Media working group contact:             Sam – 0429 569 289

Media working group contact:             Carl  – 0412867554

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Media Release

For Immediate Release

Friday 25 November 2011, 3 PM

“Victoria Police and City of Melbourne Use Violence and Intimidation” 

This afternoon, Victoria Police and Melbourne City Council continued their apparent campaign of intimidation against Occupy Melbourne protestors in Treasury Gardens. At 1:30pm, approximately 30 police and 10 representatives from City of Melbourne attended the protest site after Notices to Comply to the local laws had been issued this morning in relation to the removal of protest signs, tarps and other items used for the political occupation from Treasury Gardens.

Of particular concern is the grievous level of force used by Victoria Police and City of Melbourne authorised officers toward protestors. So far, there have been three reports of police violence against Occupy Melbourne protestors, and two protestors were arrested for apparently obstructing local council officers.

One such instance was the assault of Sam Castro, a participant of Occupy Melbourne, who said: ‘I am a mother of three assaulted on White Ribbon Day by an officer of Victoria Police. I was filming the police intimidation tactic towards Occupy Melbourne, when a police officer shoved me in the chest and punched me in the cheek bone and eye.’

Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team spokesperson Sara Dehm stated that “It’s outrageous that Victoria Police and City of Melbourne continue to dubiously rely on their local laws in an attempt to intimidate Occupy Melbourne whilst also resorting to violence and force against protestors. This has to stop.”

For media comment:

Sam Castro – 0429 569 289

Occupy Melbourne Media: 0438 428 116

Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team: 0434 126 515

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Wednesday, 23 November 2011, 1am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Occupy Melbourne Congratulates Baiada Workers, Supports ANF Campaign”

Workers at Baiada Poultry yesterday won an important victory against exploitation and inequality when managers offered a deal that will see an end to cash-in-hand employment and an end to $10 an hour pay.
Occupy has been a supporter of the Baiada chicken workers since before the strike with occupiers joining workers on the picket line and performing stunts targeted against major Baiada-purchaser Coles.

Occupy Melbourne activist Alex Ettling said, “Baiada workers and their supporters will celebrate this victory for the 99%. However, Baiada workers continue to be some of the poorest in Australia while the company is worth some $495m. Occupy Melbourne is continuing to organise against this massive disparity in wealth and supports workers taking collective action to hold the rich and powerful to account.”

Occupy Melbourne will also continue its support for the Australian Nurses’ Federation’s campaign for better pay and conditions. The decision of Victorian nurses to defy Fair Work Australia and continue with their industrial action is a welcome sign of the growing confidence of the workers of the 99%. Occupy Melbourne has been a prominent supporter, distributing flyers and cheering nurses as they entered Festival Hall to cast their unanimous vote to continue their action earlier this week.

“Despite the stifling limitations on worker’s rights that come from Fair Work Australia, the state and federal governments, the police, and the courts, workers are now showing a readiness to defy the anti-union laws of the 1% and push for economic justice” said Alex Ettling.

Occupy Melbourne’s Community and Union Outreach Group will be joining the ANF’s “2011 Public Sector Nurses EBA Community Rally” in support of the nurses on Thursday (12.30pm outside of Myer in Bourke Street Mall). Occupy Melbourne will continue to engage in stunt actions in support of workers, with actions planned for Thursday during the rally and Friday at 5.30pm at City Square.

Occupy Melbourne’s Community and Union Outreach Group Media Contacts:

Alex Ettling: 0416493506
Eric Le Roy: 0414080393

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Saturday, November 19, 2011, 1am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Night Raid on Occupy Melbourne”

At midnight, approximately seventy police including ten riot police along with City of Melbourne compliance offices moved on Occupy Melbourne in Treasury Gardens.

A squadron of police was ordered into the gardens after City of Melbourne Parking and Traffic officers issued a Notice to Comply to an Occupy Melbourne participant regarding a blue tarpaulin. Eight arrests were made, including an indigenous mother of five.

Occupy Melbourne Librarian Baron de Merxhausen, who was forcefully removed from the ring protecting the tarpaulin states; “This is a completely absurd show of force against peaceful protesters. The issue is obviously not about the items in question, this is about the suppression of worldwide Occupy movement.”

Matt Wilson, a lawyer with Rob Stary’s lawyers stated that, “this is a campaign of intimidation and force against people exercising their democratic right to political communication.”

Photograph attached. ABC footage available.

Contact 0434 126 515 for comment or clarification from the Legal Support Team.

Media team contact – David Schoeffel 0418 895 686

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Thursday, November 17, 2011, 4.30pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

RESPONSE TO SALVATION ARMY CONCERNS

 

Allegations of impropriety have been brought to our attention this morning and we are very concerned about these comments. We are taking this issue very seriously as we realise that there is a great responsibility being put upon us to care for the young and the homeless who visit our occupation.

Sam Castro from the Media Working Group was quoted as saying, “Occupy Melbourne has a strict no drugs, no alcohol and no violence policy and we are shocked at the claim that have been made today”

“Some people who visit our occupation do so because they have nowhere else to go. Some have been homeless for a long time while others have only recently fallen through the cracks.”

At Occupy Melbourne we have adopted a no-tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs. Our First Aid and Care Working Group has qualified and training nurses, a medical doctor, training and qualified social and youth workers. If we believe someone is putting themselves or others at risk we don’t hesitate in calling for assistance from Victoria Police.

We welcome assistance and negotiations with community groups who are more properly equipped to deal with these issues and will be talking to Major Brendan Nottle from the Salvation Army about how to best manage this issue.

Reverend Simon Moyle said, “Occupy Melbourne exists in part to address the root causes of poverty and disadvantage so it’s not surprising there are young people experiencing those things spending time around the movement. Their voices are equally valued as part of the conversation and need to be heard. Occupy Melbourne has been and will be working with the Salvos and other agencies to put structures of support in place to ensure everyone is safe, especially vulnerable people.”

He went on to say, “I spoke to Brendan Nottle and he denied having made the claim that children were offered drugs at Occupy Melbourne.”

Occupy Melbourne believes that Robert Doyle, as a patron for homeless and drug and alcohol support organisations in Melbourne, should be doing more to help Occupy Melbourne instead of targeting vulnerable members of our society.

Reverend Simon Moyle : 0402857915

Sam, Media Team Contact : 0439569289

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Wednesday, November 16, 11pm

Taxpayer money used to bailout big businesses, but executive bonuses soar

Sounds like something out of Wall Street but no – it’s happening right here in Australia.

Today at the AGM for Bluescope Steel, institutional investors approved $3.1 million in executive bonuses for a company which has lost over $1 billion and taken a $300 million taxpayer rescue package.

According to Occupy Melbourne, this is a timely reminder of the issues facing the 99% of Australians – a real life example of big businesses losses being funded by the Australian public.

Occupy Melbourne participants read in The Age this weekend, an article by journalist Michael West, who wrote:

“.. these rises came in a year when the board and the executive presided over a $1.05 billion loss. Dividend to shareholders was nil. And the bonus announcement was accompanied by news that 1000 workers are to be sacked.

There is more, sadly. BlueScope’s share price tanked 50 per cent last year. The company is struggling to survive and this week the government pushed a $300 million rescue package through the Senate for BlueScope and OneSteel.”

Nick Carson, of Occupy Melbourne’s Media team, said this shows how relevant the Occupy Movement is to average Australians.

“In addition to loosing over $1 billion, the Bluescope management team deems it appropriate to give itself over $3.1 million in bonuses, and this is simply scandalous,” said Carson.

“You would think that the Bluescope executive team would take ALL measures to get their company into the black BEFORE asking for our money.”

“Shouldn’t part of the measures they take to assist their business cut costs be a cut in their personal salaries – even if only as a symbolic gesture. What a slap in the face to the Australian people.”

cont …

“The movement has been criticised for not being relevant to Australia, but this case clearly shows why all Australians should be outraged,” said Carson.

“What will Australians gain from this bailout?,” asks Carson, “not jobs, not corporate tax contributions, not dividends to superannuation plans. Australians need to ask who is our government looking after – if not us?”

Ends.

Further information and media interviews: Nick Carson 0438 428 116

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 5pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Melbourne City Council Stifles Political Speech Despite
Federal Court Challenge”

Melbourne City Council is continuing its campaign of intimidation and harassment of Occupy Melbourne protesters despite a current Federal Court Challenge.

The small cardboard placard reading “Discussion Group. Occupy Movement. Civil Rights: Human Rights” is the subject of a council Notice to Comply and is indicative of Melbourne City Council’s utter disregard for the right to protest, political communication and the current constitutional challenge playing out in the Federal Court. (See image of the political sign and the Notice to Comply attached)

Erin Buckley, of Occupy Melbourne’s Legal Support Team, stated; “These notices are being repeatedly issued in bad faith by Melbourne City Council with the clear intention of harassing and intimidating the occupiers.”

The infringements issued are for innocuous ‘objects’ and ‘things’ such as cups used for water and political placards such as the one mentioned above. No other users of the gardens have been told they can’t have ‘objects’ or ‘things’. The intent to stifle political speech by the deployment of inappropriate laws could not be clearer.

Erin Buckley stated; “Council officers attend daily to issue notices against protesters in a targeted manner. Police appear to be acting in concert with Melbourne City Council to intimidate the protesters. Protesters are fearful that another show of excessive force such as that of Friday 21st October is imminent. The failure of police and Melbourne City Council to provide a coherent, lawful authority for the force used on peaceful protesters is adding to their apprehension and fear.”

“The intention of Melbourne City Council could not be more clear, nor their lack of respect for democratic principles, the courts and the rule of law.”

Photograph attached.

Contact 0448323 060 for comment or clarification from the Legal Support Team.

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Monday, 14thof November, 2011, 11pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Occupy Melbourne’s Indigenous Working Group to Evict Robert Doyle”

This Thursday the 17th of November, the First Nations of Australia Embassy at Occupy Melbourne will be serving a notice of eviction to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. On Friday the 11th of November Robert Doyle spoke to ABC774’s Jon Faine and invoked the infamous words of Margaret Thatcher: “Who are these people?” and the Indigenous Working Group of Occupy Melbourne are responding.

The Indigenous Working Group is inviting supporters and concerned citizens to join them in City Square at 12.30 where speakers will address the crowd before leading a march to City Hall.

By presenting the eviction notice to Mr. Doyle Occupy Melbourne is protesting the ill-treatment of indigenous activists during the eviction at City Square on October 21st, the disrespect shown to the Indigenous flag, which was dragged through the mud, torn and then discarded in landfill and the greater injustices of settlement upon the indigenous people of this land.

The Indigenous Working Group and Occupy Melbourne rejects the validity of the law the Melbourne City Council is trying to enforce, specifically the validity of City by-laws over indigenous citizens who have not been recognised by the Australian constitution.

The Snowy River tribe Elder Robbie Thorpe said, “We have continually asked them to produce evidence of their right to apply their laws when we know that it is based on the fraudulent ‘Batman Treaty’. They have not provided this evidence and we therefore believe we are not obliged to comply.”

Occupy Melbourne passed a motion on October 28 supporting the call for a treaty between the First Nations of Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia.

Media Contact:
Robbie Thorpe – 0415 801 170

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Monday, 14 November, 2011, 2pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Council Continues Campaign of Harassment and Intimidation Against Occupy Melbourne”

Melbourne City Council officers and Victoria Police appear to be working together in an apparent campaign that in effect intimidates and harasses the protesters at Occupy Melbourne, despite representations in open court last Wednesday that Victoria Police did not act on Council powers on Friday the 21st of November when violently evicting Occupy Melbourne from the City Square.

Protesters at Treasury Gardens have been visited daily by Council officers and police in what appears to be a campaign of intimidation and harassment, directed towards silencing the protesters in their exercise of political communication. Police and council appeared to step up the campaign this morning, with many protesters believing that an eviction such as that seen on the 21st of November was imminent.

This morning, eleven council officers attended the Occupy Melbourne protest site to order the protestors to pack up their signs, banners, marquee, and other belongings. Similar structures, such as those used by weddings in the gardens, have gone without notice. They were closely followed by a visit from members of the Victoria Police force who warned protesters that if they did not comply with the council directions, a show of force such as that seen on Friday the 21st was likely.

Today’s actions by Council and Victoria Police are one of a long line of harassment and intimidation with protesters reporting daily visits from Council officers and police.

Melbourne City Council’s reliance on their by-laws as a means to harass the Occupy Melbourne protesters is astonishing in the face of current Federal Court action to have the validity of those laws tested. On Friday, the Federal Court held that there was a serious question to be tried in regards to the constitutional validity of Melbourne City Council’s exercise of their by-laws to inhibit freedom of political communication.

A spokesperson for the Legal Support Team Sara Dehm said:

“Melbourne City Council ought to have taken efforts to establish the validity or otherwise of their actions before acting with Victoria Police in their extraordinary display of force on the 21st.  It’s quite outrageous that they are continuing this campaign of harassment and intimidation despite the current court action. It shows a peculiar arrogance on behalf of the council towards democratic legal processes and a lack of respect for their constituents’ right to protest.”

Media Inquiries:

Occupy Melbourne Legal Support: 0434 126 515

Occupy Melbourne Media Team: 0438 428 116

___________________________________________

Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 2pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Occupy Melbourne Challenges City of
Melbourne in Federal Court”


Fitzroy Legal Service have filed documents in the Federal Court seeking that the court make a declaration that a Notice to Comply served to Occupy Melbourne participants by council officers on Friday the 4th of November was “ultra vires” and hence “null, void and of no legal force or effect.”

Occupy Melbourne seeks to uphold the right of all Australians to protest as enshrined in the constitutional right of political communication.

In an important test case for civil rights, assisted by the Human Rights Law Centre and Emrys Nekvapil and Nick Wood of counsel, former Federal Court Judge, Ron Merkel, QC, is acting on behalf of the litigant from Occupy Melbourne. This legal challenge may act as an international precedent for how police and local authorities respond to peaceful protests around the world.

“We are taking the reasonable and responsible path, contrary to the path taken by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Victoria Police,” said litigant James Muldoon.

An interim injunction is being sought to stop the City of Melbourne from acting upon or giving effect to the Notice to Comply. The case is running on the basis that the manner in which the council is using their powers is incompatible with constitutional implied rights to freedom of political communication.

Erin Buckley from Occupy Melbourne’s Legal Support Team stated; “Council by-laws have been used against participants in Occupy Melbourne in clear conflict with their civil rights. A basic tenet of any democracy should be the right to free speech and peaceful assembly.”

“We hope to see this challenge succeed and the courts uphold the right of all Australians to be in a public space and exercise their right to political expression.”

James Muldoon (Litigant): 0413 905 204
Occupy Melbourne Legal Support Team: 0434 126 515
Occupy Melbourne Media Reception: 0438 428 116
Anna Brown (HRLC): 0422 235 522

___________________________________________

TUESDAY, 8th November, 2011, 1AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Independent inquiry into Occupy Melbourne
eviction called”


Councilor Cathy Oke will put two motions forward to the City of Melbourne today calling for an independent inquiry into the decision making process behind the controversial eviction of the peaceful Occupy Melbourne movement from City Square on Friday the 21st of October.

Sam Castro, from Occupy Melbourne’s Media team stated, “The heavy-handed actions towards Occupy Melbourne by the City of Melbourne highlight the importance of protecting the right of free speech and public assembly for all Australians.”

The motions come as Sydney’s City Council is engaged in discussions to provide a permanent site for Occupy Sydney. This follows a decision in the United States, where the Orange County City Council unanimously passed a motion stating that Occupy tents were a form of free speech.

“It is time the City of Melbourne support Occupy Melbourne instead of stifling their constituents and visitors right to free speech.” stated Nick Carson of Occupy Melbourne’s Media team.

Occupy Melbourne has been occupying Treasury Gardens for the last week, but has been told that protest signs were classified as “advertising signage” and restricted under local council by-law.

Sam – Media team – 0439 569 289
Carl – Media team – 0412 867 554

http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/AboutCouncil/Meetings/Pages/8November2011,5pmviewdetailsanddocuments.aspx

___________________________________________

Friday, 4th November, 2011, 1PM
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Freedom to Protest Threatened by Council Action

Melbourne City Council have issued Occupy Melbourne with a Notice to Comply demanding occupiers remove advertising material and temporary camping equipment from Treasury Gardens.

Council officers served the notice at around 9:00AM on 4th November 2011. The notice was issued under the Activities Local Law 2009 and prohibits “portable advertising signs” and camping in a public place in a “tent, caravan or any type of temporary or provisional form of accommodation.”

When council officers returned to the site Occupy Melbourne claimed to be complying with council laws. The notice stated that Occupy Melbourne must “remove from the Treasury Gardens all items, goods and equipment or other property or thing that you are responsible for.”

Clarification was sought on the meaning of the term “thing” in the notice. Council officers responded that the term “thing” included tables, chairs, milk crates, signs that are not being held, signs laid down on the grass, tarps and sleeping bags.

Occupy Melbourne inquired as to why they were being treated differently to other individuals in the park but did not receive a reply. Ryan Tews from

Occupy Melbourne Logistics reported that one of the officers informed the occupiers that “it’s got to go or it’s going to escalate.”

Councillor Cathy Oke from the City of Melbourne has called for an inquiry into the council’s decision.

Sam – Media Team – 0439569289

___________________________________________

Tuesday, 1st November 2011, 3pm



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



“Occupy the Gardens, Assemble in the Square”



Occupy Melbourne will relocate its camp to Treasury Gardens and conduct General Assemblies at City Square following two decisions made on Monday evening at Melbourne’s 12th General Assembly.

Occupy Melbourne will establish a camp in Treasury Gardens without structures from Wednesday the 2nd of November and conduct General Assemblies at City Square, commencing with the 12th General Assembly on Wednesday the 2nd of November.

“It is important that all the people of Melbourne know that they can attend, contribute and support the 12th general assembly of Occupy Melbourne” stated Sam Castro, Occupy Melbourne member.

The Occupy Movement is based on the concept that everyone has the chance to participate in direct democracy and have his or her voices heard.

“The Occupy Movement is a world wide movement in roughly 1,000 cities and nearly 100 countries around the world and we aim to create real sustainable change, where the needs of the global community and the average Australian are put before national and international corporate greed” stated Sam Castro

Occupy Melbourne’s working groups are running the following events over the coming days:

Facilitation Working Group Meeting
Tuesday, 1 Nov, 5pm
Gopals Vegetarians Restaurant (Upstairs)
139 Swanston St

Logistics Working Group Meeting
Wednesday, 2 Nov, 2pm
State Library of Victoria (lawn)
328 Swanston St

Nick Carson – Media team – 0438 428 116
Carl Scrase – Media team – 0412 867 554

___________________________________________

SUNDAY, 30th of OCTOBER, 2011, 1:30pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Occupy Qantas Goes Viral on Social Media”

Industrial action at Qantas has brought the global Occupy movement to the fore of Australian economic concerns. In Melbourne, the Occupy Movement supported solidarity with Qantas workers on its first day of occupying City Square on the 15 October.

The Occupy Movement has focused on the inequalities of our prevailing economic system and is inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that targets corporate greed. Occupy Melbourne recognises the struggle of workers at Qantas to defend their workplace rights and public safety standards.

Alan Joyce recently received a 71% pay rise,  bringing his total remuneration to $5 million, while at the same time he plans to slash the jobs of 1,000 workers.

Around 8pm on Saturday 29 October evening #occupyqantas began spontaneously trending on Twitter, reflecting an explosion of awareness about the Occupy movement and workers’ rights.

Occupy Melbourne Union and Community Working Group member Ben Convey said, “This spontaneous connection between the Qantas dispute and the Occupy movement in social media makes sense because workers of the world – including at Qantas – are the 99%.”

Many trade unions have expressed solidarity and support for the Occupy movement including the MUA, the CFMEU, the NUW, the CWU and the ETU.

“The global Occupy movement represents a collective struggle by the 99% against the power and influence of the 1%. Likewise, unions are groups of workers engaged in collective struggle for social justice. The connection is clear,” said Ben Convey.

****UPDATE****

The Occupy Melbourne Union and Community Working Group had planned to stage a solidarity action at the Qantas terminal at Melbourne Airport this afternoon.

We were in communication with unions involved in the dispute throughout the morning.

We received advice at the last minute from union officials that while they appreciate the outpouring of support on social media, they were concerned about the potential impact a protest at the airport may have on the Fair Work Australia hearing, which resumes at 2pm this afternoon.

Contacts
Ben Convey 0413 208 134
Sam Salvidge 0432 803 360

___________________________________________

FRIDAY, 28th of OCTOBER, 2011, 11:00pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



“For our democratic rights to free speech
and public assembly.”

Tomorrow Occupy Melbourne will meet at 12 noon at the State 
Library.

There will be announcements from our 
Logistics and Police Liaison teams about the many exciting possibilities for Occupy Melbourne.

From the 15th of October, Occupy Melbourne began building the changes we aspire to create in broader society. We turned City Square into an active space for discussion, planning and decision-making, open to all the people of Melbourne.

We ran workshops and discussion groups during the day, and in our nightly General Assemblies everyone had the chance to participate in direct democracy and have their voices heard.

We built a community without leaders. We effectively organised according to the principles of inclusiveness, recognition and solidarity. Everyone was welcome to eat from our free kitchen and take from our free store. We took care of one other with first aid and legal support.

Yet on Friday the 21st of October, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle ordered our eviction, which was violently carried out by the police. Thousands took to the street that same day, and again the following day, to show their support and solidarity.

Tomorrow the Occupy Melbourne community will gather at State Library to affirm that our fundamental democratic rights to free speech and public assembly do not have a one-week expiry date.

Please refer to social media for further updates and
 announcements throughout the day:

www.facebook.com/occupymelb

www.twitter.com/occupymelbourne

www.occupymelbourne.org

______________________________________________________

FRIDAY, 28th of OCTOBER, 2011, 1:00AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Occupy Movement in Australia Grows As New Voices Emerge In Support”

New voices are emerging in support of Occupy Melbourne as preparations continue to resume a peaceful occupation of public space in Treasury Gardens this Saturday, 29 October.

The Age business writer Chris Zappone writes:
If nothing else, the interest around an Australian movement, whether on the streets or online, shows a gathering segment of society is not content to sleepwalk while others have the important discussions about power.”

In an open letter Yarra City Councillors Stephen Jolly and Anthony Main say:
While the Occupy movement was initiated to highlight corporate greed and the excesses of capitalism, in many cities the question of the right to protest itself has become a feature. This is definitely the case in Melbourne where the Melbourne City Council has made it clear that they want to decide when, where and how long people can protest. We see this as an attack on democratic rights and therefore totally unacceptable.”

Len Cooper, Secretary of the Communication Workers Union said:
One of the reasons given for this vicious assault upon democratic rights was the arrival of the English Queen. What a feudal travesty, where, in the 21st Century the visit of a monarch sees our streets cleared of young people who are seeking answers to questions which remain undebated by our parliaments.”

Meanwhile a Victorian branch meeting of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union on Wednesday saw a motion passed to condemn the actions of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Victoria Police, and offer logistical support to Occupy Melbourne.

As Occupy Brisbane holds strong in its 12th day of peaceful occupation, many more Australian Occupy groups are now in various stages of planning and ongoing activity, in cities including Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra, Hobart, Gold Coast, Townsville, Central WA and Cairns.

The people of Melbourne are invited to join Occupy Melbourne this Saturday from noon on the steps of the State Library from where we will walk to Treasury Gardens and resume our occupation.

Media Contacts:
Robbie Thorpe – Indigenous working group – 0415 801 170
Cobina – Media team – 0412 867 554
Nick – Media team – 0438 428 116

___________________________________________________________

THURSDAY 27th OCTOBER 2011 1:00AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCCUPY MELBOURNE CALLS FOR
TREATY WITH THE FIRST NATIONS OF AUSTRALIA

Occupy Melbourne’s 8th General Assembly passed a proposal, put forward by the Indigenous Working Group, to support the creation of a treaty between the First Nations of Australia and the Australian Commonwealth Government.

The call for recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty gained public prominence in Australia with the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972.

At the 1988 Barunga culture and sporting festival Prime Minister Bob Hawke declared his intention to negotiate a treaty with the Aboriginal First Nations by 1990. Yet, such a treaty was never established.

In December this year the Australian Government will consider options for formally recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.

Robbie Thorpe, member of Occupy Melbourne’s Indigenous Working Group, argues that Constitutional recognition isn’t enough to protect the sovereign rights of Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples.

Thorpe asserts, “Without a treaty Australia doesn’t have a foundation for its law. The Treaty should underpin the Constitution, rather than having the Aboriginal People slotted into the Constitution 100 years later.”

Media Contact:
Robbie Thorpe – 0415 801 170

______________________________________________________

WEDNESDAY 26th OCTOBER 2011 10:20PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCCUPY MELBOURNE TO REGROUP 12 NOON,
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA

Occupy Melbourne intends to resume peaceful occupation of public space in Treasury Gardens after assembling at the State Library of Victoria at noon, on Saturday the 29th of October.

Occupy Melbourne has always been committed to peaceful public assembly, free speech and social justice.

That commitment remains unchanged.

We are re-establishing contact with the City of Melbourne in an attempt to guarantee public safety ahead of Saturday’s re-occupation.

An announcement is expected from City of Melbourne about park use soon.

We have tents, kitchen and other logistics planned – and intend to re-establish camp as decided by consensus at the 7th General Assembly.

Please join us on Saturday, 12 noon on the State Library lawns to help celebrate our commitment to Direct Democracy.

Together we can build a better future.

Please refer to www.facebook.com/occupymelb  www.twitter.com/occupymelbourne and www.occupymelbourne.org for further updates and announcements.

__________________________________________________

TUESDAY 25th OCTOBER 2011 2:30AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE PROCESS IS THE POINT: THE WHOLE WORLD IS LISTENING 

Occupy Melbourne welcomes all Victorians who believe in free speech, peaceful protest and real democracy to attend Melbourne’s 8th General Assembly on the public lawn of the Victorian State Library at 6pm this evening.

Occupy Melbourne has received support and acknowledgement from many prominent public figures including;

Noam Chomsky (Linguist, Philosopher, Scientist);

Just back from Occupy Boston, in its third week of occupation of a public square near the financial center, with a wonderful spirit of cooperation, lively discussions, and great promise, like many hundreds of others in the US, and a great many more elsewhere – though some are violently dispersed, as in Bahrain and, I read now, Australia.“

Steve Keen (Professor of Economics and Finance at UWS);

“[The right to dissent] doesn’t exist in Australia; it’s instead a privilege that can be easily withdrawn if the police decide to enforce ordinances that they can also decide to ignore.”

Jello Biafra (lead singer of Dead Kennedys);

“We don’t like corporate dictatorship turning every country into a third world banana republic.”

Simon Moyle (Baptist Minister);

“Why send the riot squad to quell something that was never remotely riotous?”

Occupy Melbourne’s 8th General Assembly, to be held at 6pm, Tuesday October 25th on the lawns of the State Library of Victoria.

Direct democracy in the Occupy movement can be found in this video.

Media Contacts:
Robbie Thorpe – Aboriginal media representative for Occupy Melbourne – 0415 801 170
Cobina – 0412 867 554
Nick – 0438 428 116

____________________________________________________________________________

MONDAY 24th OCTOBER 2011 5:00 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STATEMENT ON THE EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF OCCUPY MELBOURNE

 

Throughout the day, Occupy Melbourne has fielded a number of questions hoping to pre-empt the next direction of the movement.

Future directions of the movement will be canvassed at Occupy Melbourne’s Eighth General Assembly, to be held at 6pm, Tuesday October 25th on the lawns of the State Library of Victoria.

Occupy Melbourne operates on a process of consensus decision-making. Any decisions about the movement’s aims and goals are determined by the agreement of all participants in the General Assembly. Occupy Melbourne’s participants believe that this process is integral to the function of the global Occupy movement. More information on direct democracy in the Occupy movement can be found in this video.

We encourage anyone in Victoria with an interest in Occupy Melbourne to attend and participate at tomorrow night’s General Assembly.

Should any future actions be agreed upon by tomorrow night’s General Assembly, they will beconducted in a peaceful and non-violent manner. Occupy Melbourne’s participants have repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to peaceful and non-violent activity at previous General Assemblies.

Media Contacts: Nick – 0438 428 116

———————————————————-

Media Release: Monday 24 October 2011

Occupy Melbourne welcome Lord Mayor’s concern: Inquiry needed

Occupy Melbourne will today write to the Victorian Ombudsman calling
for an investigation into at least 43 documented instances of police
violence against peaceful demonstrators, including children, during
the morning raid of October 21.

Occupy Melbourne have welcomed Robert Doyle’s concern for public
safety and have again called on the Lord Mayor to support a full
inquiry into the events of Friday 21 October where riot police were
deployed against peaceful demonstrators.

Occupy Melbourne’s lawyers have 43 statements detailing shocking
injuries inflicted by police on peaceful protestors. These include
eye-gouging, punches to the face and back of the head and the
deployment of pepper spray, including on children. The OM legal team
is still receiving statements.

“Robert Doyle needs to have a bex and a good lie down,” said Occupy
Melbourne’s Emma Kerin.

“This situation requires cool heads and mature decision making, which
is why we have called for an independent inquiry into the decisions
taken by Melbourne City Council, the Lord Mayor and Victoria Police,”
Ms. Kerin said.

“We will today call on the Ombudsman to investigate instances of
police violence against those assembled. We will also call for answers
as to whether the Lord Mayor knew in advance that riot police would be
deployed against his own constituents.”

“Not everyone agrees with the concerns Occupy Melbourne has around
increasing inequality in Australia and around the world, but most
Melbournians would agree that using riot police, pepper spray and
police dogs and horses against peaceful protestors, including
children, is plain wrong.”

“The images seen on television of police violence were shocking. We
need an investigation into how this came to happen and who permitted
police to use such excessive force on those peacefully assembled.”

“Cnr Doyle has questions to answer and Occupy Melbourne supports a
full and independent inquiry into police violence.”

• Occupy Melbourne is currently in discussions with its lawyers and
are considering legal action to redress the violence inflicted by
police.

• Occupy Melbourne is still waiting for an explanation from Victoria
Police as to why officers were permitted to remove name tags and
identification numbers, despite being required to wear these under
law.

• Melbourne City Councilor Cathy Oake has backed calls for an inquiry
into the police violence & Liberty Victoria and the Australian Lawyers
Association have also expressed concerns about the level of police
violence.

• Occupy Melbourne will hold it’s next General Assembly on Tuesday
this week, 6pm at the State Library to democratically discuss the next
steps in the growing movement against corporate greed and inequality
in Australia and around the world. All are welcome to participate.

Carl – media team – 0412 867 554

Erin – legal support spokesperson – 0434 126 515

__________________________________________

Media Release: Friday 21 October 2011

Police Violence Warrants Full Inquiry: Occupy Melbourne

Occupy Melbourne have called for a full inquiry into unlawful police behaviour amid scenes of police violence on the streets of Melbourne today. The call comes after riot police disrupted a peaceful demonstration in Melbourne’s CBD.

“We call on Premier Ted Ballieu and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle to back a full and independent investigation into the use of unlawful and excessive force by Victoria Police and the Melbourne City Council,” said Occupy Melbourne spokesperson Erin Buckley.

“More than 20 statements have been taken from individuals who have experienced police violence including eye gouging, kicks to the groin, punches to the face, knees to the face and arbitrary pepper spraying, including of minors. One incident involved an elderly woman with a walking stick who was pushed to the ground by riot police,” she said.

Occupy Melbourne’s legal support team also say they have evidence of dozens of Police on duty without name tags or badges, in breach of police regulations and previous assurances from Victoria Police that all officers would be identifiable as required by law.

“It is unacceptable that the kind of violence we have witnessed today can occur in our city without any accountability. That means a full independent investigation is required,” she said.

17 truck loads of personal property were also forcefully removed from Melbourne’s City Square.

13 of these truckloads were instantly crushed. Property included; generators, cooking equipment, backpacks, tents, bicycles, computers, cameras, marquees and other personal items.

“Melbourne City Council should compensate people for the illegal destruction of their property.”

Occupy Melbourne is part of a worldwide movement against the growing disparity between rich and poor, austerity measures and corporate greed. It is a movement for economic and social justice and real democracy.

“The richest 20% of households in Australia have 60 times the wealth of the poorest 20% of Australians. CEOs are getting huge pay increases and banks are posting record profits. We want a fair share for all Australians.”

“The camp where Occupy Melbourne has been for the past week has been dispersed, but the movement against inequality will continue tomorrow.”

Occupy Melbourne will convene tomorrow at 12 noon at Federation Square. Organisers are calling on supporters of equality and peace to join the occupation.

Contacts:

Carl – media team – 0412 867 554

Erin – legal support spokesperson – 0434 126 515

__________________________________________

MEDIA RELEASE – 6.30pm FRIDAY OCTOBER 21st 2011

Occupy Melbourne Legal Support team statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 21, 2011

6.30pm

The legal support team at the Occupy Melbourne events condemn the excessive use of force by the Victorian Police today against peaceful protesters.

“Our observers have witnessed and been told of numerous incidents of excessive force and violence against the peaceful protesters,” said Erin Buckley, coordinator of the legal observer team. “We are very concerned at the level of violence, and concerned particularly about the welfare of young people who have experienced significant police brutality today.”

Many of the people arrested are being released without charge.

The legal team have recorded around 45 arrests so far, though the numbers are expected to be closer to over a hundred.

Numerous incidents of police violence and brutality have also been recorded.

Arrests have been documented and legal support is being coordinated for arrestees at the demonstrations as much as is possible.

The purpose of the legal support team has been to inform people of their rights and the law, and to contribute as much as possible to the safety and well being of protesters.

While some police have been co operative and helpful, there have also been numerous reports of police harassment, bullying and excessive use of force. Many police have also been photographed not wearing identification badges.

www.occupymelbourne.org

http://www.facebook.com/occupymelb

Media Contact – Carl  – 0412867554

____________________________________________

Media Release – 3.30 pm Friday OCTOBER 20th 2011 

Young Aboriginal man admitted to hospital after vicious police attack at Occupy Melbourne.

Koby James, 21, a young indigenous resident of Melbourne was the last person in the Occupy Melbourne movement to be violently evicted from the city square.

He had the aboriginal flag draped around his shoulders as the police viciously and indiscriminately evicted the Occupy Melbourne movement.

Koby James is currently in care with the Victorian Aboriginal health service.

Koby was quoted  as saying earlier in the week “Forty percent of Australia’s wealth is in the hands of one percent of the nation’s population, this wealth is used to out-voice the other 99% and buy the destruction of our land.”

Koby also said “The Government has unapologetically lied to Australia to give the nation a feel that what they are doing is right.”

The Aboriginal contingent of the Occupy Melbourne movement came with the blessings of the Wurrunjerri nation elders.

 

Media Contacts:
 Carl, media team, 0412867554

______________________________________________

MEDIA RELEASE – 7.20am FRIDAY OCTOBER 21st 2011

Move to Evict Occupy Melbourne?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

At 6.58 council issued us with the following notice:

“I am an authorised officer of the Melbourne City Council.

I direct all persons in the City Square who are, in my opinion, failing to comply with the Council Activities Local Law 2009 by:

– Camping in the City Square; and

– Hanging or placing objects and things on or over the city square.

both without a permit, to

– leave the city square; and

-remove all items, goods and equipment including tents and associated infrastructure which the person owns or is responsible for.

by 9am on Friday 21 October 2011.

If you do not comply with this direction in the time provided we will be referring the matter to the Victoria Police and you may be subject to further enforcement proceedings and/or trespass.

_____________________________________________________

We remain committed to peacefully occupying public space and intend to remain.

Please join us if you believe that public use of public space for peaceful protest is worth supporting.

MEDIA RELEASE – 5:30pm THURSDAY OCTOBER 20th 2011

Victoria Police Speak to OM Protestors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Inspector Bernie Jackson of the Melbourne East police station this afternoon met with Occupy Melbourne protestors today to discuss a potential eviction scenario.

Jackson stressed that Victoria Police does not have the authority on its own to prosecute the eviction, and instead will wait for Melbourne City Council’s instructions on how to proceed.

Inspector Jackson said that once an eviction notice had been served, a “reasonable time” would be given for protestors to voluntarily vacate City Square. “Reasonable time will be given in hours, as in a number of hours,” said Jackson. He qualified: “it’s not going to be in the middle of the night.”

Inspector Jackson further discussed Victoria Police’s likely course of action should an eviction order be issued. When the police arrive on site, protestors will be again asked to leave voluntarily. Anyone who refuses to leave will be forcibly removed from City Square by police officers.

Inspector Jackson told the crowd that he was satisfied with the current state of relations between police and the Occupy Melbourne protestors.

Inspector Jackson’s statement will be discussed at the nightly General Assembly, to be held at 6pm this evening on the north side of City Square.

Jackson was challenged by a number of vocal members of the crowd, including Indigenous activist Robbie Thorpe.

Mr Thorpe asked Jackson: “If the by-laws [relating to the Summary Offences Act’s powers for eviction] relate to the Aboriginal people and if so, how?”

Inspector Jackson responded that the police force was required to follow the directions of the Melbourne City Council with regard to the eviction of protestors.

Mr Thorpe later told Occupy Melbourne’s media liaison team that any eviction notice served on the protestors is likely to be immediately challenged in the courts.

 MEDIA CONTACT

Nick, media spokesperson, 0438 428 116
Tal, media spokesperson,  0421 652 642

——————————————————————

MEDIA RELEASE – THURSDAY OCTOBER 20th 2011*

Award winner donates her $2000 prize money to Occupy Melbourne in opposition to Robert Doyle’s plan to forcibly evict Occupy Melbourne.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

City of Melbourne resident and Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Award winner has donated her $2000 prize money to Occupy Melbourne in opposition to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s proposal to forcefully evict the peaceful movement Occupy Melbourne.

Melissa Hughes, the winner of the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Writing Award has announced her intention to donate her prize money to the Occupy Melbourne movement and to the broader struggle for social equality.

Hughes is a respected poet and social justice campaigner. She was notified yesterday (Tuesday 18th October) of winning this highly-coveted award. She notified the leaders of the movement of her intention to donate the money as a result of the Mayor’s response to the occupation at City Square.

Hughes: ‘After reading an article in which the Mayor called for the authorities to use their eviction powers, I decided I did not want to accept an award from someone who is in favor of using violence to break up what is a peaceful, lawful protest”

Occupy Melbourne, with the support of Hughes, are organizing an arts and music festival. The festival will feature musicians, dancers, performance artists and film in support of the movement and it’s occupiers.

Art has always been a vehicle for resistance, for hope and for expression and we believe that art and art-making is fundamental for a society to thrive.

The festival is welcome to all. It will run from 12 noon until 8pm on Saturday October 22nd, followed at 8.30pm by an Aboriginal Film Festival screened in City Square. The night will feature prominent Melbourne bands, artists and filmmakers showing their support for the movement initiated by Occupy Wall Street, now occuring all over the world.

Media Contacts:
Tal, media spokesperson 0421 652 642

Carl, media spokesperson 0412 867 554

* This press release was originally released on Wednesday 19/10. Updated Thursday 20/10 to include arts events info.

——————————————————————

Media Release – 2:30pm THURSDAY OCTOBER 20th 2011 

MESSAGE FROM THE ABORIGINAL TENTS OF OCCUPY MELBOURNE

The Occupy Melbourne population has recognised the Aboriginal people as the sovereigns of this nation and the Aboriginal community has in turn invited everyone at Occupy Melbourne to stay on the land. This comes with the blessings of the Wurrunjerri nation elders.

The Indigenous community is hosting two amazing events as part of Occupy Melbourne in the coming days. 

Thursday the 20

th at 2pm – Indigenous activist Robbie Thorpe held a walking tour of Melbourne’s CBD. 

Saturday the 22nd at 8:30pm – will be the first night of “sunset cinema” and will screen Our Generation in Melbourne’s City Square. This will continue on Sunday at 8:30pm with Bastardy and Monday at 8:30pm with Wrong Side of the Road.

Koby James, 21, has been Occupying City Square since Saturday with his husband Rory James, both proud homosexual Aboriginal men.  Koby says: “Forty percent of Australia’s wealth is in the hands of one percent of the nation’s population, this wealth is used to out-voice the other 99% and buy the destruction of our land.”

 “In 2007, the Howard Government implemented the racist intervention, stripping my brothers and sisters of the NT rights away in many ways,” says Koby. “The Government has unapologetically lied to Australia to give the nation a feel that what they are doing is right. It is not right, it is wrong. Genocide is alive and well throughout this nation. Everyone is trying to ignore it because modern Australia has a horrible history of violence. But we at Occupy Melbourne are coming together and working out solutions to Australia’s future together. ”

The Aboriginal people are not going anywhere. In the eyes of the Aboriginal people Occupying Melbourne’s city centre, the land owns us, City Square owns the 99% and it’s happy for us to stay.

All are welcome to attend. Meet at 2pm the City Square.

Media Contacts:
Carl, media spokesperson 0412867554

——————————————————————

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6 comments

  1. any law that conflicts with common law is illegal.

    please state what council law allows removal of the protestors in Melbourne square ?

    also take note , very important..

    In Victoria the Oath of Allegiance was removed from the Legal Practice Act in 2000 without referendum.
    therefore no lawyer , barrister or prosecutor is under oath , this is illegal and a act of treason.

  2. kev Moran · ·

    I recognise the wurrundjeri people as the true owners of the land in which the city square is located. I take up the invitation to join with the rightful owners to continue to occupy this land in peaceful protest with occupymelbourne. Kevin Moran

  3. AshDiane · ·

    Oops looks like a bit of text in that went AWOL!
    It should read that we urgently require donations and assistance from those who have the knowledge and experience to teach.

  4. Jim Toohey · ·

    are there any good websites regarding common law in melbourne victoria

  5. […] it’s up to Ron Merkel QC, the man who took on and beat Andrew Bolt, to challenge the City of Melbourne, question the legality of the processes used against Occupy Melbourne and strike a blow for free […]

  6. Spartacus · ·

    Hi,

    I have said it many times and will say it again, 1) The referrendum of 1988 in Australia voted against including the council in the constitution, 2) The Constitution of Australia states what is not given is denied, 3) The council is unconsitutional hence all by laws from the council have not been enacted in her Majesties name. A letter on each notice sent by the council should get them to prove their bylaws exist under state law or the constitution.

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