Stop fencing out the poor

The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of collective power to reshape the processes of urbanisation. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights. – Henri Lefebrvre

35 people standing under a pedestrian bridge asking that homeless people be provided with social housing surrounded by 20 cops 3 paddy wagons, police vehicles is a bizarre scenario but that is what went down at a rally for the homeless at Kurilpa on Saturday 17 Nov 2018. At the rally we heard Greens Federal candidate Max Chandler-Smith call for raising taxes to help build social housing for the homeless. He said that there are $$$billions floating around developer and housing markets.

Twenty police had three paddy wagons at a demonstration defending homeless people’s right to camp out at Kurilpa Point. I counted four police sergeants on hand. One of them, Acting Sgt Wayne Woodlock assaulted a woman dragging her away from the fence used to lockout homeless people. Another sergeant gave a very poor reconstruction of the series of events that led up to this precipitous action (see recording below).  Another woman was arrested and let go.

Minister for Homelessness, Mick de Brenni, has spent a good deal of his time trying to drive rough sleepers elsewhere. Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, has invited developers into the area [Kurilpa Riverfront Renewal Master Plan].  Parmalat who owns the milk factory next door is waiting for a big offer from government/developers for the land. They may be processing milk but they are milking the public purse as well.

Democratic Rights
Councillor Jonathan Sri called the demonstration to protect the homeless to campaign for renters rights and to make housing available and affordable. Here are the notes and sound of one of the arrests.

Policewoman explains to a woman why she was arrested at homeless rally at Kurilpa on 17 Nov 2018. The sound is in two parts.

Jonathan Sri quite reasonably asks for people to give assistance. A second woman is arrested in front of me. The first part of the sound is the arrest of woman at approx 9.30 am by Acting Sergeant Wayne Woodlock and another that precipitates a series of assaults by police on bystanders and participants in the protest. No warning was given to the first woman arrested. Police Acting Sergeant Wayne Woodlock placed the arrested person in an aggressive wrist lock and pushed me away as I asked him to ease his grip.

The second part is at the paddy wagon at approx 9.50 pm is a recording of what was said by another Sergeant (a policewoman but not the arresting officer as claimed) at a paddy wagon some 100 metres away prior to the release for the arrested person.

I asked Sergeant Woodlock to turn the fan on in the police van because it was hot and stuffy inside. He refused point blank saying ‘we give the orders around here’. So I went to his superior and asked if he would make sure the air con in the van was switched on.

Ian Curr
18 Nov 2018

Three police vans parked near the protest.

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