Yesterday morning the ACT used hundreds of officers to remove us from our first camp. They brought tow trucks, riot police and a bear cat. A bear cat is an armored vehicle.
There were a few arrests, a few cars confiscated and one poor woman was shoved to the ground by an officer, who had his actions and his badge number recorded by numerous phones. He would have been going viral even before his shift ended for his act was the act of a coward.
And all this was, once again, an attempt to use excessive force to quell those who refuse to comply. And once again, we didn’t. For instead of going home, we went on a tourist cruise of Canberra in a long convoy, full of vehicles with the word freedom written all over our windows, and flags flying from wherever people could rise them
Then we stopped on Anzac drive to grab a photo opportunity of ourselves standing before the statues of the Anzacs. One side of the long drive was the War Museum, on the other Parliament house with that metal flagpole, the one that looks like a giant syringe.
For a while we claimed the broad centre island waved our flags at the Canberrans who were driving past. Some waved and honked their horns, one woman even brought us food, but many, with their mask still tucked under their chins, tried to ignore us.
And we, just like at the marches, were a mixed bunch of people aged from little kids to old grandmothers who had come here from all over Australia to not ask but demand the return of their freedoms.
It was now that the reality of the morning’s eviction hit me. The vision of all those police entering, like an army huddled together to challenge another army, that had a history of fighting them back, and even winning. But instead of fighting, we, their brothers and their sisters, packed up our gear while reminding them “They Serve Us”.
But do they? Do any of those institutions do that anymore? Or have they all surrendered their souls, individually, to what they see as an inevitability, and now, as they often do, were they taking their frustrations of their own cowardice out upon us, because we, through peaceful defiance had become a mirror in which they could see their own reflection.
Here were a few of them now, a little platoon of freedom warriors unfurling their flags like the remnants of a memory of an Australia they were losing, as these people who were ignoring them, were participating in the burial of, and all for the price of future safety.
Following this we all headed to a showground they call Epic Park. And tonight it would prove to be the perfect name.
From the moment we arrived, others kept arriving. Many of them bone weary from their trip but beaming from their joy at arriving. And they had come from everywhere.
Briefly, in the afternoon, security closed the gate, stating they were full. Then an activist opened them, another activist closed them again, all whilst the numbers of arriving vehicles continued to expand. Finally the police turned up and to the surprise of us all they opened the gates and while we had the chance we had all the new comers stream in. But there was no need to rush for they would stay open for the rest of the night. Before crashing last night I received a text that an enormous convoy from Gimpee was arriving.
Now it’s not even six in the morning and the combined energy of all these outcasts, these covid jews, feels like having sherbert in your blood. They already are, even before the sun illuminates them, a thing of rare beauty. A gathering for true Australians who have become an awakening promise of an extraordinary day. An Epic Day.
In town, the council have installed bollards, and the police have told the early protesters that they can’t bring in any flag, other than the standard blue. They also can’t bring flag poles or have any writing on their t-shirt, and megaphones are banned.
How they intend to enforce this new order will be the first battle of the day. And I envision it will be a peaceful one where the police, once they realise the numbers of their own that they are facing, will back down. They will be numbers that will dwarf the small army they used this morning to evict us. Numbers of people, who are here with nothing left to lose and facing a dwindling force, for many police have taken stress leave. These police have also just been mandated, and under the weight of that they will be facing a peaceful army that grows stronger and more numerous with every act of violence pitted against it.
We have been surfing a tide of tyranny now for two years, is this the counter-wave of Freedom?
There is more light now and there are more voices, still respectfully soft as the corellas crackle the air above.
Last night young people were sporadically chanting out the word “Freedom” and the like. Words that echoed around the camp like plucky birds calling to each other in a dark forest. Echoes that left us all smiling. For these were songs of birds called hope.
I missed the sixties, but I sense that this is what Woodstock must have felt like, except we have no bands, only a hunger; a leaderless determination organically drawn us all here, the Country’s Capitol, to offer our souls to the ranks of the greatest Freedom Rally in Australia’s history.
And this is history, you can feel it, and because of these people the pages from here on out might once again be rewritten.