On Wednesday the 15th of February participants of the Occupy Sydney movement staged a demonstration in solidarity with the Greek revolt. Over the past week, Greece has been rocked by a General strike, the mobilisation of 500,000 people and massive rioting in the streets of Athens and other Greek cities,
At approximately 12.30pm, while the city streets were full of tourists, shoppers and many office workers on lunch, a black bloc carrying an “Occupy Sydney” banner marched from the Martin Place occupy site down Castlereagh Street to the Greek consulate chanting “A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH FUCK THE IMF". The comrades made speeches declaring solidarity with the popular revolt across Greece then left two objects in the doorway of the consulate and quickly dispersed. One object was a large fake Molotov made out of an empty petrol tin with red cellophane coming out the top, the other was an empty, black foam box labelled “PANDORA’S BOX: DO NOT OPEN” with the titles of various financial institutions: “IMF, European Central Bank” etc, labelled along the sides.
By 1pm the area around the consulate was swarming with cops and the entire consulate and all staff of the Beirut Hellenic Bank evacuated by police.
10 minutes later a large police contingent made of uniformed and plain clothed police raided the Occupy Sydney site and corralled, assaulted and arrested 6 comrades outside the Westpack Bank on Castlereagh, and confiscated a number of cameras.
According to the police report:
"As a result of the actions of the group, NSW Police deployed personnel to conduct the following investigations:
1 Search and evacuation of 219-223 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
2. Crime Scene Guard for the items placed in the foyer at 219-223 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
3. Restriction of pedestrian and vehicular access on Castlereagh Street between Liverpool Street and Bathurst Street, Sydney
4. Specialist Police deployed from the Protections Operations Unit, Anti Terrorism and Security Group, State Crime Command
5. A detachment from the Australian Federal Police
6. A number of Police utilised in order to stop, arrest and caution the six persons
7. A team of 8 Detectives to investigate the matters comprising of statements, CCTV review and monitoring interviews"
Within minutes of the arrests, anarchists called for a solidarity noise demo, and a crowd soon gathered outside the City Central Police Station where the 6 occupiers were being held hostage. Banners were immediately tied to trees and poles directly opposite the front door of the Police Station, and visible to all traffic from the busy Day Street. The Banners read:
“ATHENS IS BURNING SYDNEY IS WAITING”
“SOLIDARITY MEANS ATTACK”
Large Drums were also improvised and a beautiful racket filled the area all around the station. Many people stopped to watch and take photos, some congratulated us, and others danced to the drums. Many cars also honked their horns, some drivers shouting “good on ya” and giving a thumbs up or waving a fist from their windows as they passed by. Many police watched from inside the station and some came out to read the banners and scowl at us before retreating back to their hole.
Throughout the long demo, police made repeated attempts to disperse the crowd and stop the drumming, officers occasionally came out of the police station shoving and abusing comrades, but the crowd remained, continued drumming and defended the banners over a period of 9 hours. One enraged policeman even told the crowd that the drumming was intimidating police, and witnesses inside the station had been too overwhelmed by the noise to give statements, as if that would encourage us to stop.
At about 11pm police suddenly and very quickly mobilised a line of officers in front of the crowd and made an announcement that the demonstration was illegal and everyone must disperse immediately or face arrest, at this time a line of police had moved around the block and formed a line behind the demonstrators. The front line of police immediately moved on two comrades carrying the “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE FUCK THE POLICE” banner. Both ran with the banner, evading the police cordon by running through the traffic on Day st. The comrades then reopened the banner on the other side of the road but were forced to flee as a number of police then pursued them across the street.
They abandoned the banner and ran into an underground car park where one comrade was cornered and arrested. The other temporarily evaded the pigs, before being arrested 15 minutes later while attempting to flee through a fire escape
One other comrade also broke through the cordon and evaded a number of police in pursuit by passing through a building and locking them inside.
The rest of the demonstrators were gradually released from the kettle with warnings they were banned from the area for 24 hour or face immediate arrest. One was then arrested after they refused orders to leave the area and cease drumming.
The “A.C.A.B” banner was the only one saved during the raid, the rest were cut down by police and taken as “evidence”. Once released from the kettle, comrades promptly hung the banner from a pedestrian footbridge, directly visible from the front entrance to City Central Police station.
Inside the cells, all comrades maintained an antagonistic attitude, banging on the cell doors and repeatedly chanting anti-police slogans alongside some teenagers accused of shoplifting. One comrade was also repeatedly slammed into a wall while handcuffed, receiving minor but bleeding wounds on their forehead and shoulder.
Drumming and celebrations continued across the road until all 9 arrestees had been released to loud cheers, hugs, anti-police chants and beers. The last comrade was released at 1.30 am, after being held for 12 hours.
In all only 2 comrades were charged with “false representation resulting in a police investigation”*. Others were threatened with various charges, one comrade with as many as 6 that supposedly “may be laid pending further investigations”.
The 2 who were charged received extremely restrictive bail conditions, including reporting to the police 3 times a week, a ban on all contact with each other until the trial, and a ban from entering the centre of the CBD.
At around 2am all comrades walked away in a celebratory mood, still drumming and chanting anti police slogans, with the “A.C.A.B” banner left hanging on the bridge.
Unfortunately all cameras and memory cards holding photographs and video of the black bloc march and demonstration outside the consulate were taken by police and are being held as evidence.
In the 24 hours since the comrades were released, police have raided the Occupy Sydney site on 3 separate occasions, confiscating all furniture, sleeping bags, food, tables and propaganda, leaving nothing behind. Occupiers are currently rebuilding the site.
SOLIDARITY WITH THE GREEK REBELS
FIRE TO ALL PRISONS!
*Charges against both comrades have since been dismissed