Extradite Adriana Rivas – National Day of Action 24 May 2014

Mark Dreyfus addressing the rally

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus was among the speakers at a rally and speakout on the steps of the Victorian Parliament House on Saturday 24 May. The action was called to “[denounce] a Chilean criminal living in Australia” – Adriana Rivas [González], whose extradition is sought by the Chilean government to face ‘multiple charges of violent crime allegedly committed while she was serving under military dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal intelligence apparatus'(Foreign Correspondent, ABC TV March 25, 2014, see also SBS Radio – ‘The Other 9/11‘) Early next month he will present a petition to Federal Parliament calling on the government to ‘observe International protocols regarding people accused of committing Crimes against Humanity that are currently residing in Australia’- see http://chn.ge/P3NHkP .
As well as explaining the reasons for the action, speakers referred also to the matter of the appointment of James Sinclair as Chile’s new ambassador to Australia, something that will be the occasion of a protest at Parliament House on 4 June. Marisol Salinas, Friends of the Earth spokesperson Indigenous communities and Latin America, also addressed the repression of the Indigenous Mapuche people of Chile, something that has been the subject of posts on this site – see for example here, here, and here.

See also LASNET on Facebook, and website.

Marisol speaking

Marisol Salinas

Banners lined up on steps of Parliament House, Marisol speaking

Mark Dreyfus making a point

Another speaker

Banner - Australia Protects Human Rights Abusers but Rejects Asylum Seekers

Placard with photo of Adriana Rivas

Banner calling for release of political and Mapuche prisoners ...

The end of action was overtaken by a colourful and musical procession marking Vesak (the birth, passing and enlightenment of the Buddha) – http://www.unvesak.org/eventoverview.htm:

Buddhists passing in front of LASNET banner

Here are a few more photos from this procession:

Float with statues of Buddha

Another float

Line of Buddhist monks

Girl dancers

More dancers and musicians

Another part of the procession passes the rally


Bust the Budget – Rally and March in Melbourne, 18 May 2014

[Updated 21 May]
View over pat of crowd at State Library

Though called at only a few days’ notice, Melbourne’s rally and march in protest at the Coalition Government’s first budget attracted numbers rivalling the March in March: organisers claimed ten thousand during the initial rally rising to twenty-five thousand by the end at Federation Square. (Rallies in other cities were also large scale, for example ten thousand in Sydney and six thousand in Adelaide according to the ABC.) The format was traditional: speakers at the State Library, march down Swanston Street (though a departure from custom was the splitting up of the march at Bourke Street, with part continuing directly to Federation Square and part making a detour via the Mall and Elizabeth Street and back to Swanston via Collins Street) and final speakers at Federation Square. (For more information on the event, see the Facebook page).

At the State Library

Warm-up music was provided by Celine Yap. The list of speakers was a long one, here and again at Federation Square, and was increased by an unscheduled ‘intervention’ on the part of Indigenous activist and broadcaster Vivian Malo. Among those who spoke at the library were: Karen Pickering, feminist and organiser of Slutwalk Melbourne; Yorta Yorta man Jason Tamiru; ACTU President Ged Kearney (see also http://www.actu.org.au/Media/Mediareleases/AbbottGovernmenttearsapartAustralianwayoflife.aspx); Shaun Murray, Coal spokesperson with Friends of the Earth; Mohammad Ali Baqiri, a refugee who spent three years in detention (see http://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/a-second-chance-the-stories-of-fawad-ahmed-and-mohammad-ali-baqiri/); and Adam Bandt, Greens MHR for seat of Melbourne. MC was RRR presenter Richard Watts.

Others have posted video of some of these speeches on YouTube, for example:

Vivian Malo by Sean Bedlam – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB8gY7WiDJY

Adam Bandt – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WW4MsgdTp8&list=UUExNRjztVKtVu1CNzPpIFCQ

Celine Yap singing

Celine Yap with Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind”

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

 Karen Pickering

Karen Pickering

Adam Bandt speaking

Adam Bandt

Vivian Malo in front of Aboriginal flag

Vivian Malo

Jason Tamiru speaking

Jason Tamiru – “We’re at the bottom of the stack in this country”

Shaun Murray

Shaun Murray

Ged Kearney

Ged Kearney

On the march

Aboriginal flag leading march

Marching down Swanston Street

Senior citizen with placard demanding Abbott reurn his 'self-awarded bonus'

This marcher attracted much attention from photographers

Woman in shorts and placard with caption ' Abbott can kiss my perky lesbian ass'

As did this one

Musicians at the old City Centre

Busking against the Budget

(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnZtyOLTSuk)

Woman in climate action t-shirt hold leads of two dogs

Plenty of dogs on the march

Woman cradling dog

Even if some had to be carried

woman holding baby with mini-placard reading "Wah!!!"

As did some of the younger protesters

Young woman with placard of variant of classic "First they came for ..."

Bringing up the rear

At Federation Square

By the time marchers had assembled at Federation Square organisers felt able to announce a revised attendance figure of twenty-five thousand. Here there were more speakers, with Father Bob Maguire his usual self prominent in a list that included disability activist Jax Jacki Brown and NUS Education Officer Sarah Garnham, Operations Coordinator at Friends of the Earth Samantha Castro, Danae Bosler of Public Transport Not Traffic, broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director Marcus Westbury, and Tamika Hicks, ALP candidate for Rowville. Rounding everything off was activist singer/songwriter Les Thomas, with a song specially written for occasion – caught here on YouTube.
Danae Bosler’s speech has also been posted to YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf-JCjlEGNo and Tamika Hicks’ can be found here.

Jax Jacki Brown speaking from wheelchair

Disability activist and spoken word performer Jax Jacki Brown

Sarah Garnham speaking

NUS Education Officer Sarah Garnham

Father Bob pointing with his walking stick

Father Bob Maguire

(Father Bob amongst other things used the view over the river to the Eureka building to make a point he has made before about the symbolism of the gold panels at the top of the tower and the blood-red ribbon flowing down from them. See for example at 7min 30 in this video from the eve of the 2007 Federal Election – http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/23nov-eureka-engagemedia.avi)

Rally and March for Marriage Equality – 17 May 2014

[Updated 19 May] For details of event see the Equal Love Facebook page and website. There are more photos (341!) by Michael Barnett at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152426635170149.1073741850.553710148&type=1

Naomi Farmer addressing the rally

NUS Queer Officer Naomi Farmer addressing the rally

Apart from the speakers – Adam Bandt of the Greens, Sally Goldner of Transgender Victoria, Adam Bottomley (Australian Services Union Delegate of the Year 2013), NUS Queer Officer Naomi Farmer and of course Ali Hogg, Equal Love convenor – the keynote of this rally was music. The Melbourne Gay & Lesbian Chorus, resplendent in formal (wedding?) wear, sang on the steps of the State Library during the warm up, and again with Rosco Elliott in a spectacular performance of ‘Equality’, his song written for the campaign. (See Karaoke version on YouTube here.) This performance was repeated at a halt on the march, at the intersection of Swanston and Bourke Streets, attracting attention from passers-by in away the rally itself may not have done.

As to the event as a whole, it would have to be admitted that numbers did not match those of some previous rallies – see for example reports on this site here and here, with accompanying links to YouTube videos – but at four to five hundred was still impressive. After ten years of campaigning a degree of fatigue would be understandable, but the timing may have contributed: the day was chosen to mark IDAHOBIT [International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Bi-phobia and Intersexism – formerly and elsewhere IDAHOT], whereas the rallies just referred to were linked to the anniversary of the amendment to the Marriage Act which banned same sex marriage. (There will be a rally to mark the tenth anniversary – Saturday 16 August, again at the State Library, see http://equallove.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69:10-year-anniversary-year-of-action.) Some also may have had to choose also between this and the Beat the Budget rally hastily called for the following day (see next post).