Saturday 20th February – Waterlining & the Vigil for Baby Asha
I drove in to Kangaroo Point, and walked down to the river where the slacklining crew were planning to set up a waterline—however in the setup process they managed to break everything (doing around $600 damage to their equipment apparently) and then spent the next couple of hours figuring out how to de-rig their broken—but still highly tensioned—line without killing themselves. It was unfortunate timing as the waterline had already been postponed several times due to bad weather, and a “youtube video crew” had come down to film it.
After the failed waterlining attempt I walked to the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and took some photographs of the Vigil for Baby Asha there. They had heard that an attempt to move the baby was going to be made, so they’d put out a call for everyone who could to come down. The numbers swelled to a good few hundred, and tensions rose as the protestors barricaded all the hospital exits, demanding that suspicious looking cars stop and demonstrate that they didn’t contain any baby Asha’s. This car-stopping exercise culminated in the protestors stopping two police riot vehicles. The first (which was unmarked) complied with their demands and opened their windows so the protestors could verify no babies were inside, but the second (which was marked as a police vehicle) refused to comply and had heavily tinted windows making it impossible for anyone to verify who was inside. There was a tense standoff until organisers began to report that they had information indicating that baby Asha was still inside the hospital, and the police vehicle was allowed to pass.
Shortly after this, ten or so police arrived in a clearly marked police van. One of the protestors took a photo of them on his mobile phone and had a policeman snatch his phone off him and attempt to delete the photo—seemingly without any justification— causing another tense situation. After some discussion from the various organisers and police, the situation de-escalated and the organisers began to report to everyone that they had people inside the hospital who would inform them if baby Asha had departed, so there was no need to check cars.
I stayed for several hours, leaving in the wee hours of the morning.