To Camp Or Not to Camp?


Yesterday at an occupy Melbourne protest in Flagstaff Gardens a young women was apparently left cowering on the ground in just her underwear feeling humiliated and violated after up to seven police and Melbourne city council rangers stripped her of her outer garments.

Quite an eye-catching first paragraph but before we start crying out against the brutality and injustice of the situation take a closer look at the circumstances.

The woman in question (Sarah) was part of a group protesting in a Melbourne park, the protest was not a peaceful one, the protesters were heckling and taunting police and council rangers, the young woman was dancing around the police also jeering, the officers moved in and forcibly cut the tent from her, whilst this was happening a female officer was talking to her and the other officers involved stood around her to try and protect her dignity, she was also offered clothes to wear.

Today we see the young woman in question attend Melbourne magistrates court where she has lodged an application for a restraining order against police, again she is wearing a tent and again it was removed, this time court security asked her to remove her tent before entering court.

Police ethical standards department has confirmed it was investigating an assault allegation arising from an incident at Flagstaff Gardens.

Why was she wearing a tent? the occupy Melbourne group are protesting against repeated Melbourne city council orders preventing them from erecting tents in city parks, about 15 of the group had been camping in the gardens: the reasoning behind the tent costume become a little clearer, why she was only wearing her underwear does not, though it can get pretty stuffy inside a tent.

Please correct me if I am wrong but I was sure the occupy protests were about getting governments and elected officials to work fairly and equally for all its countries peoples and not just the rich minority.

Not so in Melbourne, it’s all about being able to camp where you like and considering the amount of bush, open spaces and camping grounds that there are, surely not being allowed to camp in a city park that other people also wish to enjoy is a bit of a lame protest.

If you disagree: feel free to don your two man (don’t forget to cut a whole for your head) and set up camp in your nearest park preferably one that doesn’t allow camping, do wear something more than underwear just in case.

Fiona Hammond is a journalist who graduated from the John Morris journalism academy. Fiona lives on the south coast of NSW Australia and writes human interest stories and opinions, about gardening, sustainability, fishing, the environment and our planet.