Rally for Civil Liberties – 22 October

Responding to a call from the newly-formed group People for Civil Liberties, several hundred concerned citizens rallied on the steps of the Victorian Parliament to register their rejection of the Australian Government’s new so-called Anti-terror Laws. Weather and the timing – 1pm on a Saturday – probably kept the numbers down, but there was a wide representation of the community, including unionists (though not enough), anarchists, Democrats, Greens, church groups, anti-war protesters, gay and lesbian groups, and individuals. Speakers included Greens’ Senator Bob Brown, Democrats’ Senator Lyn Allison, Muslim barrister Urfa Masood, Brian Walters from Liberty Victoria, anti-terror law expert Marika Dias, Iain Murray from Friends of Scott Parkin, and Joe Toscano from People for Constitutional Human Rights. MC was Rod Quantock, and the successive speakers were led away by a dark-suited group of ‘ASIO’ agents with placards reading ‘Nothing to see here’, ‘ Move along please’, ‘Just trust us’, and ‘There is no rally here on 22/10’. Music before the speeches was provided by Penelope Swales.

Banners on steps of Parliament House

There was very full coverage of the event on Melbourne Indymedia, including video clips and audio of the speeches.

Penelope Swales with guitar

Penelope Swales – with an ASIO backing

Banner of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity

Protester in overalls and balaclava blowing bubbles

Rod Quantock removed by men in suits and sunglasses

Rod Quantock removed by ASIO

Les Thomas speaking

Les Thomas, brother of ‘Jihad Jack’ addresses the rally

Joe Toscano

Joe Toscano, of People for Constitutional Human Rights, leads the crowd in reaffirming the Eureka Oath