THEY arrived with fire in their bellies, revolution in their hearts and bags of instant noodles.
But it seems a couple of nights sleeping rough in Sydney’s Martin Place has been enough for most of the Occupy Sydney protesters, whose campaign is fizzling out after less than 48 hours.
“Our numbers are a lot less than yesterday and that has an effect on people,” spokesman Mark Goudkamp told AAP on Sunday.
Hundreds massed outside the Reserve Bank of Australia on Saturday, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement opposing corporate excess in the United States, and vowing to occupy the city’s banking district “indefinitely”.
But by Sunday afternoon numbers had declined and Mr Goudkamp admitted many simply had to go back to their day jobs on Monday.
“I’m one case in point of that and many others are in the same boat,” he said.
“I think we have to be realistic .. it’s going to become largely a symbolic kind of presence rather than a mass presence.
“And those of us who are working or have family commitments … we’ll basically be coming down when we can.”
The Sydney protest was mirrored in capital cities across Australia, with relatively large turnouts reported in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, among others.
Similar Occupy protests were staged around the world, with violent scenes in Italy.
In London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a crowd of thousands.
But unlike in Europe, where many countries are doing it tough, organisers of the Australian demos admit things aren’t as bad here.
“We don’t have the depth of crisis here in Australia,” Mr Goudkamp said.
“There’s more desperation (in Europe).
“A lot of people here have jobs and they’re acting out of solidarity with people who are worse off than themselves.”
The Sydney protesters also suffered a setback on Saturday night when police removed some of their camping gear.
As night fell police moved among the group, removing tents, mattresses and other gear.
“We’ll still stay but we’ll be more uncomfortable,” campaign organiser Josh Lees told AAP on Sunday morning.
“A bunch of stuff was just taken.
“Police moved in without any notice, no discussion … and just started grabbing stuff and throwing it into a truck which they then drove off.”
A police spokesman said the group had been well behaved, but said they weren’t allowed to camp in Martin Place.
Nonetheless, the protesters’ site was still relatively well stocked on Sunday, with a communal supply of food, water and bedding.
And about $1000 had been raised through donations from sympathetic unions and members of the public.
There were also several arrests made at the Sydney demo, including one man in his twenties who’d chained himself to a rubbish truck.
Mr Goudkamp said that if any protesters remained on Monday morning there was talk of moving the group down to the Australian Securities Exchange on Bridge Street.
The group was due to hold a meeting to discuss tactics at about 6.30pm (AEDT).
IMAGE: A demostrator holds his head in his hands during the occupy Sydney demostration in Martin Place, Sydney on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. About 200 protestors set up camp outside the Reserve Bank of Australia in Martin Place on Saturday, launching a day of “global revolution” against corporate excess. (AAP Image/Christopher Samuel)