Over 100 police, including several horses and riot vehicles, dispersed various decentralised actions called to fight back against University staff and course cuts this afternoon.
Spearheaded by Students and Staff Say No Cuts, contingents congregated in groups less than 19 at disparate locations across campus, such as at the Cellar Theatre, Carslaw Building, Fisher Library and the Quadrangle.
However, prior to the kickoff of the rally, police had already established themselves on Eastern Avenue, behind the F23 Administration Building and at various places along Physics Rd.
At 1pm, speakouts began at the different locations. Outside Fisher Library, SRC President Liam Donohoe and SAlt member Deaglan Godwin condemned the police shutdown of the National Day of Action protest late last month. At the Carslaw Building, SRC Environment Officer Lily Campbell and Art History honours student Aiden Magro called attention to the targeting and excessive cuts of arts and humanities degrees by the University and Morrison government.
However, despite groups remaining under 19 in total attendees, police began clearing the various actions within 10 minutes of speeches beginning. At Fisher Library, police issued a formal move-on order, claiming that there was a gathering larger than 20 “for a common purpose” — a justification that has been already used at two previous USyd education rallies. The other decentralised actions were shut down in a similar manner.
At one point, an officer announced over megaphone to students sitting on the Law Lawns that if they were there to eat lunch they could stay, but if they were there to protest they must leave.
Around 10 activists were issued $1000 fines, similar to last month’s National Day of Action. Aiden Magro, who was seized while attempting to disperse into Victoria Park, was issued with an unprecedented $2000 fine.
“I was simply trying to leave, and I was chanting while doing so,” Magro told Honi. “But I’m here still to say that the University is treating staff like crap and it needs to stop.”
Solidarity member Adam Adelpour was formally arrested and is currently being held at Newtown Police Station, and will likely remain overnight until a bail hearing tomorrow morning.
A large number of remaining protesters found their way to Cadigal Lawns, however, where there was little to no police presence. After a speakout, featuring activists Kelton Muir and Lauren Lancaster, the rally wrapped up around 2pm.
More to come.