“Howard’s gone, we voted for change, now let’s bring all the troops home!” was the heading for a rally called by Melbourne-based Unity for Peace (http://www.unityforpeace.org/) to mark International Human Rights Day.
The event followed the traditional format of a rally at the State Library followed by a march through the city, in this case ending at the GPO in Bourke Street, which was crowded with shoppers and sightseers queueing to view the Myer windows …
– thus providing a good opportunity to spread the message.
Speakers at the State Library were introduced by David Glanz of Unity for Peace, and included representatives of the Greens and the Union movement, reflecting these groups’ vital role in the removal of the Howard Government, and Civil Rights Defence (http://www.civilrightsdefence.org/), reminding us of another area where the incoming administration has to be reminded of its responsibilities to freedom and democracy. Finally, Anita from the Alliance for Indigenous Self-Determination drew attention to Australia’s longest-standing war, the war on the original inhabitants, recently entered on a new phase with the sending of troops into the Northern Territory on the pretext of child-protection; she urged people to attend a public forum on the issue on Monday 10 Dec (the actual date of Human Rights Day) at the Melbourne Town Hall (http://uriohau.blogspot.com/2007/11/world-human-rights-day-public-forum.html) and also spoke of the current campaign by local activists to reclaim the old Victorian Aboriginal Health Service building in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
A similar rally was held in Sydney (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/09/2113724.htm) and the Sydney Morning Herald carried the Unity for Peace media release (http://news.smh.com.au/rally-today-to-bring-iraq-troops-home/20071209-1fw4.html), but the media were not much in evidence on the day.