"Occupy Wall Street", which commenced on September 17, 2011, is a protest that began as hundreds of people descended on the streets of Manhattan's financial district. Since then, the movement has spread to dozens of other cities. And, on October 15, the movement went global with protests in dozens of countries. In Melbourne, Australia, protesters occupied Melbourne City Square on Swanston Street since Saturday 15 October. Melbourne Mayor, Robert Doyle, said that the activists who had camped in the City Square for nearly a week had caused at least $15,000 damage.
This morning, October 21, more than 100 police swooped on City Square at 7:00 am, giving about 120 anti-capitalism demonstrators until 9:00 am to leave. The protesters refused to leave and by mid-morning about 20 protesters were arrested. By lunchtime, more police officers, the anti-riot unit, dog squad members and mounted police had come into the area just as lunchtime crowds swelled around the Collins St/Swanston St intersection.
|At lunchtime as I walked down Swanston St, the very large number of police cars parked everywhere alerted me to the events around the City Square.|
|Increased security outside the Melbourne Town Hall as one approached the City Square to the South.|
|More police cars parked on Swanston St, looking to the south towards the City Square, where one can see the crowd in the distance.|
|Police barricading Swanston St at Collins St. Traffic had completely stopped and tram services were severely disrupted.|
|Police on Swanston St, directly in front of the City Square.|
|An enthusiastic protester who lost no opportunity to explain to everyone who approached him why this event was occurring and why he was there.|
|The police meant business. Nobody got past them!|
|An observer atop the traffic lights at the corner of Collins and Swanston Sts.|
|Motorists had a very hard time in the City today as this poor woman found out, the hard way!|
|The dog squad were also there in full force. The dog sculpture adjacent to the City Square provides an ironic touch!|
|And then the police moved in to clear the intersection...|
|Nothing like the mounted police to move the crowds! I always feel sorry for the poor horses...|
|And the poor dogs...|
|The Europe XXL festival in 2009 saw the French city of Lille inundated with striking, six-meter-tall sculptures – colossal jet-black infants with bat-like wings and reptilian tails. This October these mischievous monstrosities descended on Melbourne, as the city's CBD became a playground for a flock of fiendish cherubs. Along Swanston Street and St Kilda Road the demonic angels manifest themselves, surveying the city's occupants with otherworldly eyes. The parade is the handiwork of subversive Russian art collective AES+F, an outfit known for their irreverent hybrid works incorporating a broad spectrum of imagery – from pop culture and Hollywood cinema to religious iconography, mythology and classical art. The angelic demons seemed a very appropriate backdrop for the goings on below them...|
|The police and the crowd get right up close and personal. Good to see at least one policeman is enjoying himself!|
|This poor young chap got a little too close to the pepper spray and had to receive first aid.|
|On Collins St, looking towards the west.|
|There certainly was no shortage of police there today!|
|City Square was quickly and completely fenced off. The truck is full of the protesters' belongings, tents, rubbish, etc.|
|"City Square is temporarily closed off for maintenance...|
"Occupy Melbourne" was a token gesture of solidarity with the people of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement by a few political activists. It is fortunate that Australia is not going through as tough an economic time as other countries are, otherwise if it were different I am sure the police would not have had such an easy time budging a much, much larger crowd of malcontents...