to do a Mini - Occupation
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
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
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.