Rally for Indigenous Rights – 13 February

Members of Melbourne’s Indigenous community and supporters rallied on Sunday 13 February at the old GPO as part of a nation-wide day of protest against continuing Aboriginal deaths in custody and victimisation by police, focusing especially on recent events in Melbourne, on Palm Island, and above all the demand for a re-opening of the inquest into the death of a young man in Redfern. A long list of speakers included both Gary Foley and his son, Michael, and other Indigenous activists, as well as representatives of several of the groups endorsing this Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) action – including Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation, Freedom Socialist Party, International Socialist Organisation, Radical Women, Socialist Alliance, Socialist Party, Women for Peace, and the new Indigenous party Your Voice. Organisers congratulated those present on the size of the turnout, but there were at least some in the gathering who felt the numbers should have been ten times as great …

Crowd in Mall outside GPO

During the first speeches at the old Melbourne GPO

Black GST t-shirt

The campaign against the ‘Stolenwealth Games 2006’ is gaining momentum, and gst t-shirts were prominent

Gary Foley speaking

Gary Foley – “40 years and nothing has changed”

After speeches outside the GPO building the action moved up Bourke Street to the offices of the Queensland Government Travel Centre:

Marching up Bourke Street

Supporters with placards outside the Qld Travel Centre

Outside the Queensland Travel Centre

Speaker by PA truck

Support from the Stolen Wages campaign and AAWL (www.aawl.org.au)

The march then carried on to the intersection of Bourke and William Streets where there was a three-minute silence and sit-down in memory of those who have died:

Sitting down for 3 minutes' silence

Anti-dredging t-shirt

This wasn’t the only protest of the day

The march ended at the Melbourne Magistrates Court and Custody Centre, where speakers included the Socialist Party’s Steve Jolly pointing out that you don’t have to go to Redfern to find injustice against Indigenous people – it’s alive and well in Smith Street:

Ouside the Melbourne Custody Centre

Melbourne Custody Centre

Steve Jolly on PA truck

Steve Jolly attacking plans to ‘clean up’ and redevelop Smith Street

Waratah Rose Gillespie (speaking), former human shield in Iraq, alongside Alison Thorne

Waratah Rose Gillespie (speaking), former human shield in Iraq, alongside Alison Thorne

Speakers from other supporting organisations:

Graham from Australians for Native Title and Reconcilation (ANTAR)

Graham from Australians for Native Title and Reconcilation (ANTAR)

Kim from Socialist Alliance, recently returned from Palestine

Kim from Socialist Alliance, recently returned from Palestine

Angela from Radical Women, orginally from El  Salvador, who stressed the importance of unity  between Indigenous and non-Indigenous in the  struggle

Angela from Radical Women, orginally from El Salvador, who stressed the importance of unity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous in the struggle

Michael Foley addressing especially the younger  generation of Indigenous people with the question  "What are your children going to be doing?"

Michael Foley addressing especially the younger generation of Indigenous people with the question “What are your children going to be doing?”

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