December 13 – Ferguson the “Fossil Fool” and other matters

So the break didn’t really happen. Last Friday, December 9th, there was the Occupy Melbourne Kids and Carers “Dare to Share” Teddy Bear Protest ( – video at end of this post); then on Saturday 10th there was the Tent Monsters’ (Re-)Occupation of Melbourne ( – see also at end of this post); on Monday Santa and his reindeer borrowed the 7-seater “Bikezilla” to bring the Quit Coal message to Christmas crowds in the Bourke Street Mall (; and this morning Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson would have faced a picket at the Hilton Hotel on Wellington Parade if he had used the front entrance:

Protesters line up with 'no coal' and 'clean solar' placards outside hotel

The occasion was a meeting of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia which Minister Ferguson was to address. Failing contact with him, protesters handed leaflets to delegates arriving, where necessary blocking the path of vehicles to ensure their occupants got the message directly:

Delegates being handed leaflets after leaving their taxisCars stopped at the picket line

The protest was organised jointly by members of Climate Action Now groups from Darebin and Yarra living within the minister’s electorate of Batman.

Protesters with placards - 'Fossil Fool Martin' and 'All I want for Xmas is Big Solar'

Clean Solar placards on display

 'HRL' model emitting 'smoke'

Occupy Melbourne Ctd – Saturday, 12 November 2011 at Treasury Gardens

Occupy Melbourne defends the Indigenous Embassy
The first General Assembly since the injunction hearings – see reports on OMDigest and Raili Simojoki’s blog – followed the erection of three ‘not-tents’ including one housing a new Indigenous Embassy. Council officers backed by a small number of police duly arrived and warned that a compliance notice would be issued if the ‘structures’ were not removed within first 30, then 45 minutes – later further extended as the subsequent discussion at the GA continued. When they did move in there was standoff, from which they sensibly enough retreated. The GA then continued, and was still in session when the last of the following photos was taken, around 6pm. By this time a number of motions had been voted upon, among which was agreement to defend the Indigenous Embassy against any further attempts to remove it. At time of writing, the latest word from OM on Twitter is that people were settling down for a night under the stars…
Welcome to OM banner on grass
Erecting marquees
Robbie Thorpe spoke at the start of the first session of the GA, announcing the establishment of the Embassy and inviting OM participants to furnish themselves with Aboriginal Passports, amongst other things as a defence against the imposition of jurisdiction that Indigenous Australians did not recognise:

Robhie Thorpe holding up passport

There was a steady stream of applicants:
OM participant signing for passport
The GA in session:
Overview of GA session 1
The council arrives:
Council officers and police arriving
Council compliance officer faced by OM including Robbie Thorpe

Some time later, the council officers returned with more police, some equipped with cameras, and as we said before, there was a standoff of some minutes before an official retreat:
Aboriginal flag prominent in standoff at Embassy
Another view, including uniformed police officer with camera
Expressions of victory:
The standoff coming to an end
The council and police withdraw:

Council officer etc retreat
Followed by the Aboriginal flag:
Aboriginal flag displayed as council officers etc withdraw
Conference of council and police:
Police and council officers confer at distance

The GA resumed, and resolved to defend the Embassy:
Overwhelming show of hands support for vote
This was the position at 6pm.
Some more from the afternoon:
Group making music
Dog attending GA
Placard held up to traffic - We don't want ca$h, we want change!

Occupier with placard on her back - We are the 99% etc inside Sanskrit 'OM"

Updates should be sought on the Occupy Melbourne website and related social media, as well as Melbourne Indymedia [14 nov - there is a detailed account of the GA plus ongoing discussion on Melbourne Indymedia here]:!/occupymelbourne

“Towers of Power” – OM tours Melbourne CBD, 5 November 2011

Protesters fill the street outside BHP offices in Lonsdale Street

BHP Billiton’s head office in Melbourne was one of the stops on a ‘sight-seeing’ tour of Melbourne organised by Occupy Melbourne under the title “Towers of Power of the Corporate 1%”. Starting at the City Square, site of a violent eviction by police on Friday 21 October, the tour took in buildings that had been the subject of union ‘Green bans’ – not forgetting the Regent Theatre itself, which borders the Square – starting with 333 Collins Street and the ANZ bank building on the corner of Collins and Queen Streets – as well as BHP and the offices of Australia Post (currently imposing new work practices – see The tour ended back at the City Square in time for the 14th General Assembly
Tour guide throughout was long-time unionist Dave Kerin, and Victoria Police provided a generous escort.

Poster advertising the tour

See also:
How Public is Melbourne’s City Square?
Rescuing the Regent Theatre – Louise Blake
bhpbilliton – undermining the future
Photos from the tour and start of 14th General Assembly: