June 14, 2008 by korshi
Not one hour ago I was waiting on Castlereagh Street in the Sydney CBD for my bus home, standing, as usual, opposite the Church of Scientology building, still busy burning carbon late into the night, with its occasionally glimpsed staff waiting for people to personality test, auditing each other, and doing whatever else Scientologists do. A bunch of fairly normal looking guys dressed in jeans, with backpacks and V masks walked up, one had a cigarette, then they walked over and stood outside the door. And I realised I was witnessing an Anonymous protest against Scientology.
Not much happened. All of us at the bus stop were pretty bored, as about a dozen identical, and useless buses had passed in the last half hour, getting our hopes up only to dash them; so watching the eight or so guys dressed in their masks hanging around was pretty exciting. I overheard one mother having a discussion with her precocious sounding son about the cult/religion. She compared the Thetan levels to an expensive, never-ending computer game.
The protesters had a camera, and one was carrying a bag of signs, but they didn’t really use either; possibly because the air was too cold for sign waving. Inside, we could see the staff hurry about, on phones, chatting to each other importantly. Whenever one went in or came out, the protesters would cheer enthusiastically and greet him enthusiastically by (a presumably made-up) name. A group of drunk guys in suits staggered past, and were pretty surprised to see a gaggle of ninjas in their path.
Nobody called the cops, and my bus showed no sign of coming, so I went across the road to say hi. I learned that this was the fifth protest in 5 months, and had been going on since midday. The Scientologists sometimes try to give them flyers, and they bring their own to hand out sometimes as well. Apparently the cops never get called, since they don’t do anything but stand there (and occasionally bounce up to look in through the windows); although they’re not allowed in, despite the scrolling LED sign inviting people to come inside for a free video. I would have liked to ask, for curiosity’s sake, what it was that made these guys feel so strongly about Scientology, but it didn’t occur to me at the time.
So that was my excitement for today.