Anti-VSU Protest – 25 August

(This report was originally posted to Melbourne Indymedia. A short video [low res] of scenes from the event can be found also on Melbourne Indymedia – click here . A report of the subsequent occupation of Labor Party headquarters can be found here.)

Labor condemned at anti-VSU rally 25 August

Last Thursday about 1000 students and supporters shouted down Opposition spokesperson Jenny Macklin in anger at Labor’s backdown over VSU. Senator Natasha Stott Despoja was loudly applauded for her unequivocal pledge to vote against the legislation …

Actually the estimate of 1000 by the ABC may have been generous: forwhatever reason, the organisers must have been disappointed if were hoping for a larger turnout than at the last rally, on August 10th. And there was no blaming the weather this time. Interestingly enough, though, there were no Young Liberals in evidence either …

But there was no mistaking the general anger at the backflip by the porpoise which claims to be an Opposition, although Jenny Macklin was given a hearing following a vote by show of hands. There was a clear perception on the part of those present, at least, that VSU is not just about amenities, but about the right to organise. And at the end of the rally proper a group of about 35-40 made their way to the headquarters of the ALP and barricaded themselves inside for a time. After the paint-bombing of Liberal Party headquarters at the last rally, police were well prepared to defend the building in Exhibition Street – there was line of horses drawn up in front – but they had nothing to do, as the march kept straight on along Collins Street to the old Treasury Building for a final rallying call from Rebecca Barrigos: “What we want to do, we want to give students back their voice. We want to say that we [will] defend our right to politically organise and we [will] defend our right to have a say on what happens on our campuses. That’s what this rally is about.”

There is to be another rally on 15 September.

[Mainstream media reports originally linked to are no longer accessible.]

Melbourne University Student Union banner leading the march

Melbourne University Student Union banner leading the march

LaTrobe University students with banner - We will not be silenced

On the steps of the State Library before the march

Mounted police lined up across street

Also before the rally

Gemma Pinnell speaking

Greens’ spokesperson Gemma Pinnell: like the Democrats, the Greens are pledged to oppose the legislation

Students in 'blood'-spattered overalls with ball-and-chains

As in many previous rallies, students from VCA stood out

Protester in bear suit being hugged by  ?tourist

This protester was a great hit with the phone-cameras of passers-by

Students with banner - VSU, Howard's WMD

At the end of the march