Hi - I am local to Melbourne, Australia and have been following the Occupy movement closely since it's beginnings. I have close friends in the US - and my best friend is Native American and has been very very involved in this movement from it's beginnings in her state. On the 15th October, as in much of the world - we here in Melbourne joined this growing international movement - an awareness that this is a time of change and that much peaceful talk and discussion is necessary to help this change happen.
Yesterday those who were occupying the Melbourne City Square were extremely forcibly and violently removed by over 400 police in full riot gear, police on horseback, and capsicum spray was used. Over 95 arrested. According to our 'Lord Mayor', it was time to "return the city square to the people of Melbourne". Strange - I thought it was being 'occupied' by the people of Melbourne, and as far as I am aware, no-one was being stopped from entering the space or forbidden from leaving it, until police erected barriers around it to prevent those inside form leaving, and to not allow the many coming from outside in support to get in. WHAT is going on???? I have virtually NEVER in my whole life (nearly half a century) seen such an incredible display of authoritarian violence agianst peaceful citizens in this city!!!
Many of us have always thought that we here in Australia are relatively isolated from many of the problems now dominating the US and Europe. It seems that yesterday this illusion was shattered.