“Light the Dark Melbourne” – candlelit vigil for refugees, 7 September 2015

Part of the gathering during minute's silence

From the callout issued by GetUp Australia:

The image of a Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach this week brought the world to its knees. His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was just three years old.

The sad reality is that Aylan was one among millions of desperate people forced to flee from war and persecution. The world is facing a global refugee crisis on a scale we’ve not seen since WWII, but Australia – our lucky country of a fair go for all – is not doing enough. We can do better to help these people.
We need to do better.

That’s why on Monday night, we will light a candle to remember Aylan Kurdi. We will stand together in solidarity with people across the world who are forced to ask for protection from countries like ours. We’ll shine a light in the darkness, in protest of our country’s abandonment of the world’s most desperate people, who seek only safety and protection.

We will send a message to the world that our government’s inaction does not represent us, and that Australia says welcome.

In spite of threatened rain – which did eventuate but was brushed off by participants – thousands gathered in response to the call, and there were similar though smaller rallies in other centres. Speakers in Melbourne were mostly familiar from past rallies. They included ex-detainee Mohammad Ali Baqiri, Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Father Bob Maguire, Zakia Baig of the Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network (AHWFN), and Sarah Ireland of Save the Children Australia. MC was comedian Anne Edmonds, assisted by two sign language interpreters.

Some links to media reports:

In addition many participants have uploaded photos to the event Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/events/1064515756893972/

Mohammad Ali Baqiri speaking

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

Sarah Ireland speaking

Sarah Ireland, Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Adviser at Save the Children Australia, based in Lebanon

Father Bob Maguire

Father Bob Maguire

Zakia Baig speaking

Zakia Baig from the Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network Inc.-AHWFN

Pamela Curr speaking

Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

More photos, in no particular order, and self-explanatory:

Stop the Forced Closures of Aboriginal Communities – Rally and March, 1 May 2015

This event has been heavily reported already, especially on this FaceBook page:https://www.facebook.com/events/554444444695682/ so no more need be said here. This YouTube footage is posted chiefly to give a picture of the size and varied nature of the turnout. Its core is a seven-minute shot of the entirety of the march as it passed a vantage point on Swanston Street, this being bookended by footage of the initial rally, some shots of the march at other points as it made its way through the CBD, and finally some pan shots of the occupation of the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets.
See also https://www.facebook.com/WARcollective

Walk for Justice for Refugees – Palm Sunday, 29 March 2015

As indicated in the title, this site is no longer posting regularly. But since we were at the march yesterday, and we had a camera, here are some photos from the initial rally at the State Library, and then on the march itself. The event Facebook page has plenty more. None of these seem to need captions or further explanation. (Last year’s corresponding rally was reported on this site here.)

At the State Library:

Looking over heads of part of the crowd

On the March:

Justice for Refugees banner at head of march

Placard against children in detention; child on man's shoulders

Nuclear Scumbags Awards Tour – Melbourne, 12 November 2014

Friends of the Earth, Melbourne’s Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy Collective (ACE) held a Nuclear Scumbags tour during a nation-wide week of protests in connection with the G20 summit in Brisbane – Plan B. The tour delivered citations to the offices of the Federal Government, Rio Tinto, the Future Fund, BHP Billiton, GHD Engineering, ending at RMIT, whose current chancellor, Ziggy Switkowski, received a lifetime award…
Ziggy Switkowski's award

The full list of awards:

Australian Government: Radioactive Racism, Lies and Broken Promises
Rio Tinto / Energy Resources of Australia: Reluctant Rehabilitator
Future Fund: Bomb Bankrollers
BHP Billiton: Local Environmental Sustainability and Water Protection
GHD Engineering: Health and Safety at Maralinga
Ziggy Switkowski: Racist Scumbag Long Service Award

Some scenes from the tour:

There are more photos on the ACE Facebook page.

People’s Climate March, Melbourne – 21 September 2014 – photos only.


Melbourne led the way on a grand scale with an estimated turnout of 30,000 marchers. The event began at the State Library with music, dancing and speakers, including a welcome to country. The march down Swanston Street to the Treasury Gardens via Bourke Street seemed to go on for ever… More speakers and music at the gardens, as well as stalls representing a range of organisations. Reports have appeared on SBS and The Age. We are not in a position to add to these so this post must be restricted to photos, grouped under the rally, the march, and the end (though speeches and other activities were still in full swing when we left, about 1pm).

At the State Library:

On the march:

At the end:

Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children – launch, 6 September 2014

Banner of Grandmothers against ...
A newly-formed group campaigning against the detention of asylum seeker children held a launch today on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children has grown out of a meeting of friends last April and now numbers over two hundred, according to Dr Gwenda Davey, one of the founders, who spoke today. (For more about the group, see the website.)

Crowd gathering outside St Paul's - banner reads Let's fully Welcome Refugees

Before the official start of the launch – note the banner on the wall of the cathedral.

From a media release for the event:

Hundreds of grandmothers from across Victoria will gather on Saturday to begin a campaign for the release of all the refugee and asylum seeker children incarcerated by the Australian government.

There will be speakers, music and highly visual protests against the plight of young children being held in indefinite detention.

These grandmothers are united in their horror at the heartless treatment and psychological damage inflicted on vulnerable, innocent children and are determined to take their campaign to every federal MP and even to the steps of Parliament House if necessary.

They are calling on all Australians to join with them in demanding the immediate release of all asylum seeker and refugee children in detention.

With their years of wisdom, compassion and determination, these grandmothers could well become the most formidable opponents of the heartless policies of the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison.

MC of the launch will be well-known actor, comedian and radio personality Denise Scott. Speakers will be Dr Gwenda Davey AM, coordinator of the Grandmothers initiative and Pamela Curr, Refugee Rights Advocate, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Speeches will be interspersed with songs from folk and blues singer Margret Roadknight.

The grandmothers will display 1000 paper dolls, representing the nearly 1000 children held in detention, including those held on Nauru and Christmas Island. The grandmothers will call on the Australian government to FREE THE CHILDREN.

And one thousand paper chains will be cut by the grandmothers, to the accompaniment of chanting and percussion instruments.

As mentioned in the media release, some of the grandmothers were linked by a black paper chain, the cutting of which marked the formal launch:

showing the paper chain

Others wore rows of the paper dolls that symbolised the nearly one thousand children currently in detention:
Banner of Grandmothers against ... Also showing the paper dolls

Apart from Dr Davey, whose account of the treatment endured by children in the camps brought tears to the eyes of many present, Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre focused on the contrast between the humane way asylum seekers arriving in Italy are treated with the brutality of Australia’s ‘welcome’. Folk and blues singer Margret Roadknight provided apposite music for the occasion, including one song by Indigenous Canadian singer/somgwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, and MC was another well known figure, Denise Scott.
Many of those present wore purple scarves, as can be seen in the accompanying photos, along with placards and mostly percussion instruments. At the end, following a photo op for the benefit of the Age photographer, there was what seemed to be an impromptu rendering of We Shall Overcome, perhaps in response to Pamela Curr’s earlier stirring call to action. Footage from the event was aired this evening in the main, 7pm, ABC news, and a camera crew from Channel Nine was also present, so it may have been covered there too. At time of writing nothing has appeared on the Age website.[Update 7 September – a report has been published in the Sunday Age. See here.]

More photos:

Dr Gwenda Davey

Dr Gwenda Davey

Denise Scott

Denise Scott

Margret Roadknight

Margret Roadknight

Pamela Curr

Pamela Curr

Placard showing photo of Hamid Kehasaei, who died that morning

By the stall of the Refugee Action Collective

More placards:

Placard with call for help

Placard addressing the Prime Minister - what if it was your child?

More placards

More placards

At the end - not quite the whole gathering

At the end – not quite the whole gathering

Group on steps singing We Shall Overcome

Impromptu choir