I just watched a video on the Newcastle Herald website of protestors in Laman Street showing their support for the fig trees that have transformed an ugly steel city into a place of beauty. This may seem over the top and tad dramatic but the truth is without those gargantuan monstrosities the street will look extremely bare. Personally I have always felt that standing up for what you believe in is something to be encouraged, but the video I just witnessed went beyond that. Organising a protest and petition to stop the trees being cut down is understandable, chaining yourself to the tree (if you so desire) and sitting on the branches to show your commitment is also commendable, but acts of violence towards someone who is just doing their job is when you move into the idiotic. I will miss the trees just as much as anyone else who has grown up in this town, but the act of violence and disrespect towards other human beings to save some trees is completely uncalled for and displaces any sympathy or aid to your cause.
Teaspoon posted “Disgusting is the word for this kind of behaviour. Its appalling to see people in Newcastle behave this way. How embarassing that this is going to be associated with our city.” and this is true, another eye witness report from the protest today “Shame SOF Shame you are a disgrace. You don’t have my support anymore. I was there and a supposedly peaceful protest turn ugly. SOF members running around with cameras snapping shots of Council staff & screaming at them, harassing abusing and putting police in danger as the contractors went in, pulling fences down and then playing the victims when police retaliate. You have shown your true colours SOF but at least what your really like is out in the open rather than the lies, harassment and bullying of council staff being hidden from view. Shame SOF Shame you are a disgrace.”
Some point their fingers at the council directly for letting the trees be chopped down despite apparent large scale public protest, others to the contractors, police and council workers who had to physically carry out the act. Personally I am of the opinion that attacking these people who are just like you, doing their job that they are paid to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, these are not the people to physically and verbally abuse. Your power is in your vote. Perbid posted “The people and the contractors are just doing their jobs” – that’s nonsense. Any self-respecting human being would abandon their job if they were asked to do something unethical. The contractors were in the wrong for taking the job, and the police were in the wrong for employing violent tactics. They should’ve refused orders. If I was a police officer and asked to do something like that, I would have. What are they, a bunch of pussies? Can’t stand up and make their own decisions? In the aftermath of this, they will say “But we were just following orders!” Weak, cowardly excuses.” This is easy to say when you are not the one who has to carry out the act, you are not the one being abused, spat and yelled at for simply doing what you are paid to do.
Looking at this objectively the council failed to deliver sufficient evidence as to why the figs had to be torn down apart from the reason that they were destroying the road, which to their detriment is an actual fact, the road has been ripped up by the roots but hey you build a road where trees are what do you expect? The SOF on the other hand took matters to extreme and carrying that action to violence was completely un-necessary. Tactics took by people such as Mitch who while police where distracted took his chance to shoot up a tree and has been there for over 4 hours now in protest. Peaceful, simple and effective. We are lucky enough to live in a country that allows such freedoms and the right to have our voice heard. It is disgusting when we take that to the extreme of violence and cross the line. No fig is worth that.
If you want to watch the video and a timeline of the affair click here http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/figs-finally-fall-at-laman-street/2312727.aspx?storypage=1