Encounter with anarchy

I had cause to go into the city today. It may seem like a bad idea to go to a client meeting at the offices of (insert big corporation here) on a day when anti-globalisation protestors have flooded into nearby streets to protest the World Economic Forum being held at (seemingly quite appropriately) the casino.

Before I went, I pondered: should I wear casual clothes, or my usual business wear? Within reason, either would be acceptable at the meeting. But who did I fear more, anarchists roaming the streets lynching anybody wearing a tie, or the temporary corporate security guards in the foyer this week? I decided on the latter.

When I got off the train at Flinders Street I could see plenty of protestor-type people. They’re easy to spot – they wear much more colourful clothing than most other city centre inhabitants, and have more interesting hairstyles and earrings. And that was just the men.

I’m sure it was a different story over the river by the casino, but here they and tribes of cops were busy going to or from wherever they were going to or from, generally keeping out of everybody’s way. At the offices I was going to the security guys didn’t give me a second glance. They probably have orders not to hassle anybody with a tie. I did notice that they had removed the sign from out the front proclaiming which moneygrabbing huge corporation the building belonged to.

Some of the others at the meeting were having a chuckle, claiming to have seen some of these anti-globalisation protestors clutching McDonalds takeaway. And at one point somebody claimed to see a water cannon go off, though this didn’t appear to be substantiated by news reports, so now I wonder if it was just a fire hydrant or a water main bursting. Heck, I didn’t even know our cops had a water cannon. Maybe Jeff got it for them for a Christmas present a year or two back.

After the meeting we went up a few floors to get a better view across the river at the casino. There didn’t seem to be much happening within view – just protestors and police milling around blocking off a couple of roads, and a chopper or two flying overhead.

Then I went up Elizabeth Street to my favourite record shop to buy a CD. The rest of the city seemed to be running as normal: cops were buying their half price food at Maccas (hmm, in the circumstances, an interesting image), the mall was packed with shoppers, the trams were packed with people, and a fire alarm had gone off in the building above the station, sending hundreds of office workers trudging down fire escapes and flooding out into the street.

Yes, just another day in the city.

By the way, S11 probably need to fix their JavaScript countdown. At the time of writing it claims there is "-1days -15hours -46mins -42secs" until 9am on the 11th. (What do we want? Bug free JavaScript! When do we want it? Now!)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.