Today, a group of about 20 people, gathered in City Square to stage a mock funeral of Mayor Robert Doyle, a magical ritual to bring about the death of his political career. While this action was originally not supported by some in the community , maybe for fear of causing offence, it turned out to be the driving force of today’s events.
It may have been in bad taste, but there are some things that can never be forgiven, and last year’s brutal eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square, ordered by the Mayor, is an event that will continue to haunt us. What happened a year ago was actually illegal and criminal, as it interfered with people’s rights to free speech and free assembly. Robert Doyle and other mayors who ordered similar evictions around the world are nothing but thugs in suits who are letting the police do their dirty work for them, and yet they are themselves only the servants of the 1%.
The funeral procession, led by a robed angel of death, an evil clown, Mr. Anonymous and assorted wailing widows and accompanied by bells, drumbeat and Chopin’s funeral march , began by making it’s way up Swanston Street where it encountered the march for the refugees and it was greeted by familiar faces and lots of smiles and thumbs up, as people took photos of the casket.
Then up Bourke Street, slowing down the trams until we arrived at Parliament House, where a barricade of one man from protective services told us we could only stay on the lower steps. Pointing at the casket, he exclaimed:”I can’t let you take ‘that’ up there.” (Curiously, one week earlier, the “March for the Babies” protest had a whole PA and small stage for speeches higher up on the steps) Luckily this man was given a copy of the Crimes Act from 1914, section 28 which states that interfering with political liberty can result in a 3 year jail sentence, and while he still protested a little, we walked right past him.
The silent vigil supporters , who had been waiting , joined us on the steps, many holding large photocopied photos demonstrating the police brutality that occurred a year ago.
We then proceeded to Town Hall, now escorted by two police cars, where we got a lot of interest from passers-by. By then our numbers had increased to about 50 and we were taking up much of the footpath.
The last stop before returning to City Square was the police station In Flinders lane, which in a way became the most powerful vigil of the day and almost brought a senior commanding officer to tears , maybe he was remembering last year or maybe it was Doyle’s passing that upset him? At one stage protesters made room for a car that wanted to pass, only to be attcked by the driver with the usual stupidity of “Get a job!” This is what you get for being polite! Obviously he had forgotten that it was Sunday.
Later on, after almost everyone had left,the angel of death , the evil clown , Mr. anonymous and the wailing widows took the casket in front of Doyle’s entrance to Town Hall, where it was left to await its fate, most likely ending up in a council dump, joining the thousands of dollars worth of belongings that were destroyed in the eviction. Undoubtedly a symbolic and fitting end to a long and eventful year.