Several of the police officers hold video cameras on monopod tripods. If you watch the streaming video of those independent journalists who are trying to record what is actually happening in Melbourne, you will see how truly dedicated these officers are as they work to capture the faces of these fleeing activists.
No doubt somewhere, facial recognition technology is being used to catalogue these dissidents in a file that should read, peaceful protesters, but instead, now will be labelled “Domestic Terrorists.” The only file lower on the rung than this, I guess will be the unvaxxed domestic terrorists.
The reason for the reclassification, we expect, which happened before Covid, is to allow the police to arrest these people under the fresh anti-terrorism laws. Laws that allow the authorities to hold them without trial, indefinitely. Is this what that enormous new camp they are building in Mickleham is for? A resilience camp for a modern resilient city?
We met a man at one protest who said he worked in a quarry that was supplying rock for this camp. He told us how the construction workers, who picked up this rock, gravel I expect, were always whispering to him, gravely to how they believed it was a concentration camp.
The words sound ridiculous when you realise you are talking about Melbourne, but when you see the sort of police who could end up being the guards, Police who seem to already be relishing in the fact that they are getting to treat their fellow Melbournians, these people gathering and walking and chanting to have their human rights restored, like criminals.
Today, on the banks of the Yarra, between the families picnicking under the soft October sun, and the joggers trying to lose their lockdown pounds, a small group of protesters, who had been shadowed for an hour, now chanted their way down the (word )
A week before, a jubilant crowd of Demon supporters, their face masks lowered and with no regard for social distancing, marched as one to the Gee. And they marched with no heavy police presence. They were free.
Now, a week later, this mixed bag of people defying the Government’s implementation of what they see as draconian laws, were now running, as the long line of police following them had begun running too.
Suddenly police on horseback were charging down the cycle path, as overhead the helicopters circled, like power screwdrivers twisting the Government’s cage down ever tighter.
The accountant, who had just left his office, told me he witnessed the police leaping onto the backs of these fleeing protesters and wrestling them down to the ground, men and women of all ages. Even when the protesters raised their hands to say, look, I’m not resisting, I have no weapons, they were still grabbed in a headlock and had their faces smashed into the ground.
Read the memo, this should be called, this is the new Melbourne and you are not allowed to protest anymore.
And yet still these activists return. The neo powerless uniting in powerless groups to chant for freedom, with the spunk and grace of a gang of corellas. Singing as one for what is being lost. As their countrymen, some dressed like storm troopers chase them down again and again, back over the line in the sand, their boots crushing the slogan into the grass and the asphalt and the protesters’ faces, the slogan that a few years ago we had on all our posters, Melbourne, the world’s most liveable city.
What’s going on? I watched a father ask an officer who had stopped running for the protest had once again, been quashed. The father was standing next to the picnic blanket, where his partner and his children had all stopped eating.
But instead of answering this question, the officer asked to see his ID, just to make sure this father and his family wasn’t out of their zone.
Michael Gray Griffith