How to do a Mini - Occupation

Different communities react in different ways to occupations. In some parts of the world an occupation can result in death or imprisonment. In other communities participants can use occupations as a tactic to further their aims. In each situation the occupation challenges fundamental property rights. In Australia the mini occupation is an under utilised tactic. People seem happier to be involved in vigils, pickets, rallies and demonstrations than occupations. I've been involved in four mini occupations over the past two months. On each occasion we were able to make our point with a small number of people and more importantly challenged institution's property rights.

Surprise is the most important element of any occupation. If the institution who's property you are going to occupy gets a sniff of what's going on, all they have to do is put a few security guards on the door to stop you. As we all know possession is nine tenths of the law. A few hints for a successful mini occupation, move in as a group, make a circle once you're in, unfurl your banners or signs after you've gained entry. Start a meeting, ignore those around you, they'll be in a state of panic. They won't know what to do.

Sooner or later private security guards will turn up and ask you to leave. Ignore them, they can't legally touch or evict you in Australia. If they put a hand on you passively resist and tell them that you are going to charge them with assault. At this point a group spokesperson should come forward and tell them to back off or you will contact the police. The irony won't be lost on them. If you are in a public place they will not assault you, if you're not and there are no witnesses you may decide to end your occupation at that point.

If in a foyer or public place stand your ground, tell them you will be continuing the occupation for an hour, day, month etc. It's important the occupation group has decided before the occupation how long they will stay and at what point they will leave. At this point, management will have to direct security to either wait out the occupation or call in the police. At this stage call the media. Attempt to get media representatives down to the occupation, the more the merrier.

Once police arrive the dynamics of the occupation change. You can either negotiate with them to leave in thirty minutes or you can continue the occupation. If you continue, you run the very real risk of arrest. Participants should have decided what they will do when police arrive long before the occupation began. In most cases there is little to be gained
By staying. You've made your point, you've unsettled the organization you've targeted. Get out and occupy their premises another day.