It began last year. It’s hard to believe its only been that long.
I’m not going make any fuss about anniversaries, because last year, the movement passed me by with pressing hardly any impressions on me at all.
First I heard of the movement was from a few home-made signs stuck onto the barriers around a few bus stops in Parramatta, a major suburb of Sydney.
I don’t remember where I was going everyday– probably work — I just remember the routine of traveling; walking along outside the train station and crossing the street to get to the end of the bus stops on the other side, catching a bus from there. The usual daily back and forth… when I saw them as I passed. Eventually, my curiosity was piqued.
I remember the slogan on the paper, ‘We are the 99%’ but not much else of what it said. And I remember thinking, “Hey, yeah! That’s right!”
I didn’t know of the history. I didn’t know know it was a movement. All I knew was what the paper told me, about the philosophy of Occupy. And I mildly agreed with it.
My opinion after reading the whole thing at the time was that the protestors had a good point, though it’s direction raised little more than a shrug, not understanding how they thought they were gonna fix it. But I did think their point of view was interesting.
I doubt I would’ve gone to an Occupy protest even if I had known about it, or the details of getting there. I hardly knew much at all about it, and even if I did, I haven’t gone to protests that I actually cared about, like Walk Against Warming. I could say I’m just not an activist, but the real truth is that I just don’t get out enough.
Even if I want to, I feel like I can’t. It probably stems from not being allowed out, sometime in my past…
I’ve been reading on Wikipedia about the Occupy Movement. Wikipedia said that New York was the first city of the movement, on the 17th of September (where the so-called “anniversary” comes from, though I don’t think it counts if you weren’t following the movement to start with).
Wikipedia also said that the protests in America shifted dialogue “from the deficit to economic problems” such as unemployment, that isn’t such a problem there, more there than it is here.
So, one year on, where is the Occupy Movement now? Well, here’s what it said about Australia…
“Occupy” demonstrations took place in Canberra, Wollongong, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, as well as smaller towns around the country. At the Occupy Melbourne protest on 21 October 2011, approximately 150 protesters defied police orders to clear the area, and were subsequently removed with force. 95 arrests were made and 43 reports of police violence were filed.
Occupiers returned the following day in a walk against police violence, re-occupying multiple sites since. Occupy Sydney has continued an ongoing occupation since their initial police eviction, marking 6 months on 15 April.
The occupation began on 15 October 2011 outside the Reserve Bank of Australia in Martin Place. The Martin Place occupation was evicted by NSW Police on 23 October 2011. A smaller group of participants re-established the occupation which has been continuously maintained to date despite police attempts to shut down the protest. The last major eviction attempt was on 2 February 2012 in which 7 people were arrested and a significant amount of property was seized.
Despite media reports at the time that declared the end of the occupation, protesters maintained a continuous presence at the site. As of June 2012, occupants continue to maintain a constant presence at Martin Place, regularly holding discussions and activities that encourage public participation.