$175,000 bill to evict Occupy Melbourne protesters
Islam Times - Tax payers have footed a $175,000 bill for the removal of the Occupy Melbourne protesters from City Square.
Islam Times: Occupy Melbourne protesters lost their bid yesterday for a court injunction to prevent Melbourne City Council and police evicting them from their two-week sit-in.
Council and police have not attempted to move the 20-100 protesters on, but the Occupy movement sought a court injunction preventing such a decision.
The protesters, under lead applicant James Muldoon, had also asked the Federal Court to order permits for them to set up a "tent village" of a 10m x 8m cooking tent and 15 four-man tents at the site for health and hygiene reasons.
But Justice John Middleton found there was no need for the court to make any urgent injunctions because protesters had been able to continue their demonstrations at the gardens.
Justice Middleton said, given evidence from council, he had concerns about the welfare of the gardens if tents were erected and the court heard claims there was no evidence either age or health of protesters had to date affected their democratic right to political protest.
Justice Middleton said a full hearing of the Occupy Melbourne challenge to the legality of council by-law powers to evict them from a public-space protest would be speeded up.
Victoria Police refused to release the cost of their operations in the removal of the protesters from City Square on October 21.
A council spokeswoman yesterday said the costs of extra security officers, staff overtime, fencing and cleaning costs had clocked up the $175,000 bill.
Story Code: 113347