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So it occured to me after looking at a trip up to Auckland for a brief instant after joking with a friend about staying at their place, that alternatively you could just set up a tent in Aotea Square. Right with the protestors. Now, sure, you may not get a shower, but I thought I'd ask what potential downsides there would be, as it's a pretty awesome travel hack if you're really looking to save money - bunch of friendly people around you, just make yourself a sign with cardboard, or chant 'we are the 99%' as you set up camp, and you're sorted! :D

So, in that vein, any problems you can foresee with this, aside from the alleged police brutality seen in some recent protest conflicts in the US?

EDIT

Update - the one in Auckland HAS actually seen backpackers using it as a free place to camp in Auckland - can't help but wonder if they saw this ;)

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Are you asking specifically about Auckland or anywhere Occupy XYZ is taking place? Because what to expect from the participants and the police will vary from place to place. –  hippietrail Nov 1 '11 at 8:13
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Good question. Let's say any democratic country with mostly non-corrupt police. Eg US, Aus, NZ, UK, Ireland...those should be similar enough, no? –  Mark Mayo Nov 1 '11 at 8:57
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The (uniform) police in Australia are mostly not corrupt but it seems not to take much to get them to administer a good beating to a protester once in a while. –  hippietrail Nov 1 '11 at 9:12
    
Yeah, it's only last week that the Lord Mayor had the Melbourne camp broken up - complete with broken skulls and tents demolished. This isn't the first Occupy to suffer. –  gef05 Nov 1 '11 at 12:25
    
Ha! Ireland. The police there were caught in hidden camera joking that the'd rape a protestor at a similar event if they didn't give her name. irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0405/breaking12.html –  Rory Nov 2 '11 at 10:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

You might get forcibly evicted by the police.

This could include any of these further downsides:

You might be the target of tear gas.

You might be the target of water canon.

Your tent and gear could get damaged.

If one side is perceived as becoming violent, the other side may also become violent. You could feel the sting of a police baton.


If you are really unlucky you could possibly end up with a criminal record as direct or indirect consequences of some of the above. And that could impact future travels.

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Well but at least the water canons would eliminate the need for a shower, wouldn't they?! –  iHaveacomputer Nov 1 '11 at 22:27

Make no mistake: this is not a travel "hack", you would be doing them a favor for staying at the locales, and by travelling between the various protests, you could begin sharing the commonalities/differences between the movements. The reason they are putting on these demonstrations is to give people like you a voice.

Here in Indianapolis, there is no camping allowed on the premises, but there are places and networks of people that can help you help them, and vice versa. It would be a win-win for all parties involved.

The downsides of staying at a protest are just as significant as staying out alone. You're more likely to freeze to death hopping trains than getting clubbed to death in a violent demonstration, realistically.

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If you are going to "occupy" Auckland, you are de facto part of their cause. You're in for the demonstrations, the speeches, music, and any other activities that comprise the event. And you're subject to any backlash that group encounters: civil disobedience, counter demonstrations, police, legal action, etc.

The upside is that, if it's a lawful assembly, the police and local community has some modicum of responsibility to provide for your general welfare and safety (security, facilities, etc). They're not going to let a large gathering fend completely for themselves, compared to say, if you pitched a tent in the middle of the woods somewhere.

If you want to support the cause, support the cause; They may appreciate adding to their numbers. But if you consider this an awesome travel hack just to save a bit of cash, you probably should not advertise that you're there for the money-saving tent space. Seems like a raw deal, to me.

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