Nikkita reports from the frontlinesVia Occupy Sydney on 10.20PM from Hyde Park 5th November 2011. After a hugely successful rally and march through Sydney’s CBD, Occupy Sydney reached a consensus decision to occupy Hyde Park. Once the park was occupied, the police initiated a sustained campaign of violence, harassment and intimidation, including unnecessary arrests over petty issues.
Harrassment from police
This Sydney Morning Herald article outlines how people were arrested for the serious charges of erecting a tent and climbing trees! Police also confiscated dangerous items such as milk crates and cardboard for sitting on.
Protestors Leave the Park at 2AM
In the Sydney Morning Herald protestor Mark Goudkamp was quoted explaining the decision to leave the park
We held our ground until 2am and we decided tactically to disperse when it became clear that mass arrests were on the agenda," Occupy Sydney spokesman Mark Goudkamp said.
Occupy Sydney maintained there was no such thing as an illegal public assembly and said the police actions were unlawful.
"This thuggish harassment and violation of our democratic rights came on the same day that we held a peaceful and positive rally," it said in a statement.
"There will be times when we choose to stay and the police will be forced to make a choice - they can either respect our rights, or they can use violence, harassment and intimidation to silence our voices."