Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Insulting human dignity: the #OccupyMovement try it on, the Victorian Police and Melbourne City Council are trying

There is no doubt that the protestors of #OccupyMelbourne are trying it on.  Police have been trying to get rid of the protestors and their tents from Melbourne's beautiful Treasury Gardens by enforcing Melbourne City Council's regulations.

Whatever one thinks of the rights and wrongs of the Occupation, one thing is quite clear from this video, members of the Victorian Police showed no consideration for human dignity nor did they show respect for the person of the woman at the centre of this dreadful altercation. For more details, see here.

One hopes that Victorian Police are never sent to a real peace-keeping situation because it is apparent they do not know how to cope nor do they know how to act in such situations.  When one considers the provocative atmosphere - provocation by the Occupiers and the provocation of the intrusion of the Victorian Police into the situation - I think, in the end, the Occupiers knew more about how to make a point in the situation than the Victorian Police.

It seems clear that Victorian Police have not explored a range of options - from negotiation to managing the situation in an innovative way - to be used in situations such as these.  Hidebound regulations and police action used as a blunt force appear to constitute the methodology of the authorities in this situation.

I have news for both the Victorian Police and the Melbourne City Council : people and the dignity of personhood must be, always, the foremost consideration - even in situations where the Victorian Police have to deal with hardened and violent criminals.  To throw such a concept away in the face of regulation and blunt force, supposedly on behalf of the Victorian community, is to demean not only the police but the whole community.

I think senior members of the Victorian Police and the police involved in this fracas ought to be sitting down and reviewing the situation.  They ought to be seeking new ways of operating, if intervene they must.  I think the role of non-intervention, and what that would mean,  should be on the table too.

Then, when they have cooled down and brought out of the ashes of the low-level violence displayed in this video some possible innovative solutions, they in turn should confront/sit down with Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and relevant members of the Melbourne City Council Management Team and adopt a different approach to managing this situation.

This approach should have humanity front and center in relation to the #OccupyMelbourne movement and its protestors - but, as well,  humanity front and center on behalf of the people of Victoria.  In short can we see something of the Christian principle of doing unto others as you would be done by and loving your neighbour as yourself.

To do otherwise puts on display for all to see that those employed in our public service - the Victorian Police, the Victorian Government, the Lord Mayor, the Melbourne City Council and its officers - have lost the plot.

Further reading:

Further viewing:

To watch video, please go here.

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