Well, some 3 months after the chainsaws made their first appearance, it seems the Lama Street fig trees are finally on their way down. At around 4 AM on the morning of January 31st 2012, the chainsaws re-appeared, along with some 60-odd police from the riot squad.
There was a bit of a squabble, with some of the barricading coming down, but the situation soon settled with the police forming a cordon and the protesters mostly maintaining a silent vigil.
It’s predicted that the whole operation is going to take a couple of weeks.
Already, the southern vista from Civic Park is starting to take a radically new form…
On Monday 31st October an extraordinary Council meeting was scheduled to discuss the figs, but not enough Councillors turned up for a quorum!
This was taken on the steps of City Hall prior to the meeting.
By Wednesday there was a mini tent city in Civic park.
Word was the chainsaws were finally doing there work that day.
But the figs had a last-minute stay of execution. A supreme court injunction means that everything has been stopped. And we might finally get back access to our library and art gallery.
I decided to document the signs and artworks that have been spontaneously appearing on the barricades. It’s rather like a community art gallery.
After all the action on Friday 7th October, the state of play was one fig tree with two limbs removed…….
In the meantime, the protesters have made more adornments for the barricades, and by Tuesday morning….
…an extra ring of fencing is partially erected, apparently to make it easier for workers to get in and out of Laman Street.
On Tuesday afternoon, Save Our Figs organised another rally, this time on the steps of City Hall.
There was a single counter-protester, wanting the figs to be chopped down.
More speeches made.
On Wednesday morning (12th October), the final gaps in the outer ring of fencing were being filled.
A few protesters delayed the process by sitting down on Gallery land so that they’d be inside the barrier. By this time TV and news reporters had arrived.
A bit of negotiation ensued, with the protesters being asked to move of Gallery land. At one point it was suggested a survey be made so they could know where they could move to.
A little bit later a CFMEU organiser arrived, gave a speech. Didn’t really have much to say about figs…
Cops had better things to do today.
I have a feeling there is going to be Part 3 to this saga.