The Stand Off at the Shrine Stop Making Me Do This, He Said As He Pounded My Head Into the Ground With His Plastic Shield
By Cafe Locked Out
The Stand off at The Shrine Stop making me do this, he said as he pounded my head into the ground with his plastic shield. Stop making me do this. I’m not making you do it, I said, though I don’t know if he heard me above all the yelling and screaming.
Next to me, an old Italian man, small and stocky was being pounded too. (He is in the video.) On the steps of the shrine we had interlinked arms as they finally came in, and he may have been an old man but he was strong and he refused to let my arm go forcing the officers to wrench us apart.
Finally, our link broken I was thrown to the ground and cuffed, which felt like I’d always thought it would feel. Briefly, as they did this, I had a knee pinning my upper back which made it very difficult to breath and allowed me to feel how George Floyd must have felt.
I actually wondered if this is where I would die, for there was nothing I could do as I heard them ask, “Are you happy now?” Finally I was dragged up and led to a grassy area where they sat me on the ground and took my details before finally setting me free, with the warning that if I came back I would be jailed.
This isn’t personal, one officer kept telling me. This isn’t personal. Well it feels personal, I told him, despite knowing I was not meant to speak. Yeah, well think about your kids huh, he said. Think about your kids. I am, that’s why I’m here. That’s why we are all here.
Even those of us too young to have children had been saying all day, if we don’t try to beat this tyranny now how would we hold our heads up in the future when our children were living under it. After that the officer chilled out then asked me what I did, like he was actually interested.
Then when he found out I was a playwright, he looked shocked, then when he asked if I’d written anything he might know, I told him about Marooned, a suicide prevention play that the army had once toured to its barracks for they believed it had the ability to stop men killing themselves. Men like you, I said.
That was the last thing he asked me. After that he uncuffed me and left me in the care of other officers. And there were lots to choose from. This may sound dramatic and even scripted but it’s all true. But the moment that saved the soul of the police for me was as we were walking away.
I was now with another man, a young well-built father who in the struggle had taken a punch to the face. This father wanted to ask a young police officer, also a father, it turned out, who talked to us briefly, why they had to be so violent? He claimed that it wasn’t him, he hadn’t been there. He had been here guarding this road block. Then he lowered his mask and said, and was clearly frightened as he said it, “to be honest guys, I admire what you’re doing, I’m on your side.” But why did we head to the Shrine?
In the morning the place we’d been told to meet was surrounded by police and with no other protestors to be seen it looked like it was going to be a fizzler. So despondent, we prepared to go home. But then we came across a few construction workers and joined them in a search for the large group. It was now as we crossed a park that a black armoured vehicle stopped suddenly and officers dressed like a swat team flew out of it and started firing rubber bullets and these other things, I’m not sure what they are. Terrified, we ran.
Once clear though, and still astonished, instead of heading home we decided to head back to the city in search of the main group, our rattled party led by three young women. I’m not sure why we did, for it was clear we didn’t stand much of a chance, but then all that was waiting at home was compliance.
So instead we headed back into the city searching for a bigger group. It was now the armoured vehicle returned and again started firing, indiscriminately. I was shot in the hand, a ricochet I think, but it hurt and still does, and my live feed grabbed this image.
The man closing in leapt onto the back of the man next to me, and so I walked, waiting for the same thing to happen to me, but it didn’t. Still, it’s something for you haters to celebrate. And so once again we ran off but this time our dispersed group met a few others and then these numbers grew until we reached Flinders Street where we found a major group.
And that was it, because we’d reached the centre of the city in numbers this big, and I’m not sure how many there were, they stopped firing. Instead, they blocked all the side streets as we, like yesterday, began walking around the city picking up numbers as we did. Displaying, as we walked, our injuries and many people had them. One young man was bleeding from the back of his head. Finally, even though it was on the other side of the city to where we were, someone who had a loud speaker suggested the Shrine.
As they said this it felt like a perfect idea. Remarkably, we reached it without further incident. I was expecting the police, who had the numbers and the weapons and that armoured car, to block. But they didn’t. Did they want us to go there? Was the person who suggested it working for the police? Whatever the case was we knew, as we sat on the steps that we finally had, as powerless people, a little bit of power, for as the police encircled us it was clear to both sides that despite all their weapons, and armour they had a problem, their souls.
Despite all the mass media on their side, who effortlessly portrayed us as the bad guys, we knew they couldn’t find a way to shoot us on these hallowed steps, like they’d been shooting us in the city streets all morning, and do so while remaining the good guys. So, despite us being heavily outnumbered the standoff began, our only protection their attempts to orchestrate what would happen in a way that they would look good.
It was a moment, none of us saw coming, where looking like a group of Aussies at the cricket, we belted out our chants for freedom, and then sung the national anthem, with the gusto of prisoners who were momentarily free. Every now and again the line of police, came a few steps closer.
In all their black, and behind all their shields and black face masks, it was difficult to remember that they were Australian and not an invading force. But this intimidating tactic didn’t work for we’d already been assaulted and terrorised in the streets, and instead of going home we’d constantly regrouped until what was left had made it here and sat down and sang. And we weren’t here because we thought we were Anzacs.
We were here because this place was unmistakably good. A symbol of freedom, where we hoped that the ghosts of our country’s ancestors, the ones this shrine was dedicated to, the ones who sacrificed their lives fighting tyranny in other lands, would protect us. As time passed, the police sent in undercover cops, pretending to be protestors, who sat with us and said things like, “look, we’ve made our point, let’s go home and come back tomorrow.”
Then they had other people, who we didn’t know from the battle in the streets talking to us on loudspeakers offering us this deal that they had apparently negotiated with the police. To which we replied, stand our ground. The trouble the police had was that we had no leader.
We were just a group of people who were making a stand before tyranny, a group of people attracted to the one flame that was emboldening us, the flame of freedom.. Leave by the side, on St Kilda Rd and we will all be safe was another offer sent through. They even suggested we leave in small groups.
But Sky news was already posting the fact that those that were leaving were being arrested and even shot at with those strange weapons. This was why we stayed. We knew we would get arrested at some point, we knew we were finished.
But if we got arrested alone on the streets, or later at home, the world’s media wouldn’t hear about it or care, but if they had to arrest us here as we sat together, peacefully demanding freedom on a monument built to celebrate freedom, then maybe, just maybe the footage might get out like a bright ray of truth.
“Stop making me do this,” the man dressed like a storm trooper growled as he and others repeatedly banged the shield against my head. “I’m not making you do this,” I replied, knowing all we could hope for, is that someone would hear.
Here’s what others had to say:
I’m looking at this footage ,and YES I can see NAZIS ,they are in there dark uniforms with there weapons waiting for there next order to inflict pain and terror on Australians ,this isn’t going to end well,Dan’s going to make an example of these people ,so Australians and the world know who Dan Andrews is .😢
You have collectively traumatised the men and woman who have served to protect this country, you have dishonoured their memories. You have no concept or respect what it took for these service men and women to achieve our freedom and you have the audacity to compare yourselves to them as “freedom fighters “. You absolute muppets, enjoy your stay in ICU, the ventilators are a real treat !!!!
Heya, just to let all you brave, tough, smart, big people know. The dude you’re following on here Michael Gray Griffith, is just an attention seeking creep I had to block for repeatedly sexual harassment last year. Anyway, hope you’re all enjoying yourselves making everyone miserable. ✌🏼
Wonderfully written post. I hope that will inspire aussies to unite and rise up for freedom
You guys and gals have my utmost respect.
Michael Gray Griffith is a creep who harassed me online last year. Just so all you brave and valiant people know –