Violence ensued when the police moved a group of homeless people outside Flinders Street Station. The group of people living outside the area has been protesting against the authorities that tried to shift them from the place. This resulted in the arrest of those who refused to relocate.
Five people were arrested after the confrontation. Meanwhile, three police officers were injured. The Melbourne station was shut down while the rough sleepers were being removed. The officers did not suffer from major injuries. The law enforcement officials asked around 20 people to move from Flinders Street Station. The shifting of the homeless people from Melbourne junction came following the erection of scaffolding as well as building works to be initiated.
Acting Commander Stuart Bateson confirmed that five people were arrested in the crowd. One of them was taken into custody for getting drunk while another one for assaulting officials. He added that the third member was arrested because of throwing an object at police. Bateson added that among the people being removed from the station, there was a female who punched an officer on the back of his head. The woman was arrested while the crowd demanded to “let her go”.
Flinders Street Station Homeless People Were Warned Earlier
Bateson also stated that they have given several warnings to the protesters outside Flinders Street Station before making the arrests and taking strict actions. He said that the department cooperated with the demonstrators. “We would much rather be doing other things, but unfortunately this was what was required of us,” the ABC quoted him as saying. “We’ve been talking to them about this work for some weeks and telling them that this work is coming.”
“[We told them] we’re not going to be able to accommodate rough sleeping and that work at the same time in the small space that’s in Flinders Street. Today we spoke to them at around 10:30 am, and said we need to do this today and most of them left, only a few remained, but unfortunately for us we had protesters come in behind the homeless and they gathered in relatively small numbers thankfully.”
According to reports, the demonstrators included activists as well who demanded a “public housing” for the Flinders Street Station homeless group. They chanted slogans that read: “homelessness is not a crime”, and “poverty is not illegal”. The homeless group staying in streets in Melbourne does not include only those who are economically poor but also those who left their houses for a livelihood and were searching for an affordable residential option.