Australian Critics of Scientology
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Melbourne Picket Report - Sat 06 Dec 1997

David Gerard, Fri 02 Jan 1998

From: (David Gerard)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Melbourne Picket Report - Sat 06 Dec 1997
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 12:12:57 GMT
Message-ID: <34b1d904.32590412@>

[Yes, I should have written this about a month ago. December was a busy month. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. ;-) ]

Excuse this taking so long to do; my memory should cope fine because not a whole lot happened involving me :-) Some of the other demonstrators apparently had a more interesting time though ...

We were scheduled for 11am to 1pm, as usual. I got into the Hyatt coffee lounge (our usual meeting place) at 10:45am; Frank Copeland and Cyril Vosper were already there. We sat around chatting, then someone came up beside our table, said "Good morning, gentlemen" and took a photo of us. A public Scientologist named Matt - a cheery fellow, not willing to chat as such but certainly to speak politely, with his baby daughter Georgia on his arm: the epitome of Family Values. I'd seen someone down the street in front of the Org keeping a lookout, and presume it was him.

Got down at 11am, assembled our signs, said hello to Brian Johnston and exchanged leaflets. Ours were the Lisa McPherson on my leaflets page, with the list of URLs on the back:

Someone else brought along Roland's Lisa (the edited version of the NY Times article). I also brought some Roland's Xemu leaflets, but we didn't hand any of those out. We tried to give everyone a copy of our Lisa and Roland's Lisa. We got a hundred or so out; there's just about no foot traffic.

They had 'PUBLIC WARNING', a two-page Lisa leaflet, which was actually a photocopied fax entirely in CAPITALS in a really crappy font, and a new 1997 Australian edition of 'Freedom'.

(I'm not really sure what to do in response to the continued use of 'PUBLIC WARNING'. I need to work out something really good to do with Xemu leaflets, I think.)

Our signs were same as March: one with "SCIENTOLOGY HURTS PEOPLE" and "IT'S NOT ABOUT RELIGION" and one with "ANTI-SCIENTOLOGY DEMO" on both sides. Signs laser-printed from MS Word in 200-point and 255-point Univers Bold onto A4 paper, blown up 141% and blown up 141% again; paper stapled onto cardboard, sheets of cardboard stapled together, a pole between the sheets, cardboard nailed to signs with furniture tacks. (We took the disassembled signs down to the Org and assembled them on the bench out the front.)

One of the others also brought a sign, a small A4 thing with "Scientology KILLS" on one side and "scientology CULT of GREED and POWER" on the other. Apparently, the CoS people really hated 'Scientology Kills' ... I'm told 'Rabid Boy' (the video camera operator, long white ponytail ... same video op as March ... ah well, the Lisa leaflet didn't work on him after all) got quite agitated about it.

Some nice fellow got a truck and parked it directly in front of the Org at about 11:15 or so, blocking it completely from the street. Frank says a parking inspector came around, but didn't get back to booking the truck in question. Never mind, we just dispersed to the other corners of the intersection, with our signs ...

The CoS had about six or seven counter-demonstrators, handing out leaflets. They had three signs (quickly scrawled in coloured marker, hard to read close up let alone at any distance) which they propped up against the front of the Org and didn't bother holding up: one about Internet copyright theft, one about freedom of religion, "When we can trust each other there will be peace on earth".

About 12pm, Tim Jones showed up! Those of you on a.r.s in late 1996 may remember Tim. He is a public Scientologist, successful businessman (OT V if I recall correctly), thoroughly loyal to Scientology but nevertheless a very pleasant and charming fellow. I mean, charming enough that he can put forward the standard CoS line but not come across as a rabid loon when doing so. Considering the public relations skills of the typical Scientologist come across like the harangue of a biker conehead (© Cerberus), it's almost pleasant in comparison. Tim should be training the PR Officers, he really should.

(It's interesting comparing the public relations skills of the CoS people. Tim is a regular fellow; Brian Anderson can speak okay but has that patented CoS glaze; Matt came across as not quite willing to chat, but thoroughly polite; Mary Anderson, Community Relations, seemed almost frightened to speak to me when I offered her a Roland's Lisa leaflet.)

Tim chatted to Cyril for a while, then came over and said hello. He tried to convince me to hand out their leaflets too! To give both sides, of course. I declined, saying there was no need as he was here ... and concentrated on showing my 'ANTI-SCIENTOLOGY DEMO' sign to the passing traffic. We continued chatting about all manner of things while waiting for the very few pedestrians to come by.

Melbourne Org is crap for foot-traffic, but very good for passing cars - on Saturday morning, every car is desperate for a parking spot, and is likely to try Russell Street at least once - and I got a few toots and thumbs-up, and even gave a few people leaflets when they stopped at the light (I was on the traffic island in the middle of the street).

Not much else happened from my perspective. We waved signs and leafleted and I took some photos, they leafleted and took some photos and video. At 1pm we packed up, disassembled the signs and went off to the Imperial, to have a huge pub meal and drink beer and have an entertaining conversation about Scientology. A grand day out indeed.

"Because you can't cotton to evil. No sir. You have to smack evil on the nose
 with the rolled-up newspaper of justice and say, 'Bad evil. Bad, BAD evil.'"

[Demonstrations against Scientology]