Rally in support of protests in Burma, 28 September

At the State Library, 3 …

At the State Library, 2 …

Leading the march …Hundreds of people have been attending rallies across Australia over the past few days in support of protesters in Burma, and more events are planned. In Melbourne there was a candlelight vigil on Thursday evening (http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/

this-is-a-time-for-action/2007/09/27/1190486480142.html)and yesterday, Friday, a rally at the Town Hall followed by a march to the State Library. Speakers from the Burmese community have included a former political prisoner and an exiled National League for Democracy MP, as well as a Buddhist monk leading prayers. These photos – stills from video footage – are from yesterday’s rally …

(See http://www.youtube.com/v/B7D7T_OzoHY for video of the event)

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“Protect Your Kid’s Future” – Unions rally against WorkChoices and the Howard Government, 26 September 07

Banner at head of marchIgnoring threats of fines for taking part, thousands of workers, many with their children – it being school holidays – rallied at Trades Hall in Melbourne on Wednesday 26 September, before marching through the CBD to Flinders Street, under the banner “Don’t give Howard another shot! – Protect your Kid’s Future.” Estimates of numbers varied, as always, from the ‘official’ 15,000 to a perhaps rather optimistic 40,000. As an indication of the size – the march down Swanston Street took more than 15 minutes to pass my vantage point.
Not all unions supported the callout, whether from fear of sanctions or anxiety about rocking the ALP boat before the upcoming elections, and once again it was construction and manufacturing workers who demonstrated why they are the Government’s prime target – though they were strongly backed by the health and education sectors, and a contingent on Young Unionists, not to mention Union Solidarity. The ALP itself was invisible, if present, the Greens easily putting them to shame, along with the Socialist Party and the ubiquitous Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance. According to the Government, the whole thing was only a stunt, with Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey saying the march had been ‘orchestrated by the Labor Party’…
Speakers at the start included Brian Boyd, Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, Jeff Lawrence, newly appointed Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Father Peter Norden SJ, Associate Director of Jesuit Social Services and Parish Priest of St Ignatius Church in Richmond, with Ann Taylor, President of the VTHC, acting as MC. Both here and after the march there was also a chance to hear from workers – mostly young – who had been victims of the new climate created by the Howard Government’s anti-worker laws, and the whole event was framed by music – the Trades Hall choir and “Union Maid” at the start, Cathie O’Brien at the end.
Links -
Media reports:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/rally-workers-risk-fines/2007/09/25/1190486310040.html

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/workplace-rally-draws-15000/2007/09/26/1190486359143.html

http://au.news.yahoo.com/070925/2/14igi.html

Other:

http://www.vthc.org.au/

http://www.vthc.org.au/index.cfm?section=5&category=101 (Young Unionists Network)

http://www.unionsolidarity.org/

http://www.catherineobrien.com/

http://www.unionmaid.com.au

There is some rough-cut video footage of this event on EngageMedia:

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/26sept-engage.avi/view