Sunday 28th June – Community Rally: Brisbane Says Welcome
Coronavirus Lockdown Day 98
1,067 cases: 0 new (2 active).
Breakfast at Bronwen’s Parents’ Place
Bronwen and I drove over to her parents’ place for a hot cooked breakfast—which is much better than cold breakfasts considering how bleak the weather is—cold and rainy.
Community Rally: Brisbane Says Welcome
Around 2 o’clock I drove down to Raymond Park at Kangaroo Point. There was a game on, so the whole area was 15-minute parking, which was a bit worrying. Despite the rainy weather there were still quite a few people at the protest—less than last week, but a lot more than I was expecting. They did the usual protest things in the park—speeches and what not—before doing a march up to Kangaroo Point Cliffs and back down to the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel and Apartments—where the refugees are being held. Unlike last week’s failed attempt, they didn’t try to block Main Street, instead blocking Walmsley Street.
The protesters put lots of (very delicious-looking) food on the fence around the compound and demanded that it be given to the refugees held inside, and refused to leave the road until their demand was met. Things went well for a while with the oppressive police presence simply ignoring the protesters, but eventually the police decided to clear Walmsley Street. Ironically—and rather hypocritically—to do so they blocked off Main Street to park all their vehicles, effectively causing a huge road issue and affecting large amounts of people in order to clear a tiny side street that was—at most—causing a minor inconvenience to a handful of local residents.
The protesters—true to their word—refused to leave the road because the food hadn’t been given to the refugees. The police formed lines at either end of the protester’s group, and started forcibly arresting people at one end. They’d arrest a couple of people, and then just as the anger against them began to build to boiling point, they’d stop and start arresting people at the other end—while everyone’s attention was focused in the other direction. It took quite a while, and over 65 people were detained (with 37 arrested)—by force, with the police physically dragging them away and locking them in vans. Then—having managed to block a major road in order to forcefully remove everyone from a road that wasn’t being used anyway—the police left, leaving Walmsley Street free for people to go sit on again should they wish.
Despite the fact that I was standing away from everyone and (coincidentally) obeying the social isolation rules quite well at the time, surrounded by almost everyone else who wasn’t, Sgt Louw (from South Bank) felt it pertinent to give me a caution under the coronavirus health directives. I didn’t accept it, so I’m unsure if it was actually recorded, but it gave him an excuse to identify me, which I suspect was the point.