Last year Palm Sunday fell on 16 March, and the temperature was over 40 degrees; this year the mercury struggled in the high teens, and prayers for rain were perhaps untimely answered. However, there were still many sufficiently committed to the cause of peace and the related issue of abolishing nuclear weapons to make the effort, and the shopping crowds in Elizabeth Street and the Bourke Street Mall were obviously impressed by the message.
This year the rally proper was preceded by an ecumenical service outside the State Library, focussing on the present-day relevance of the original Palm Sunday – the event was sponsored by the Victorian Council of Churches and the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament:
A short break between the service and the rally was the cue for hiphop artists the Ringwood Boiz:
MC for the day was Jessica Morrison of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) (http://www.mapw.org.au/media-profile/ms-jessica-morrison):
Among the speakers she introduced were Reem Yunis from Palestine:
Rahmat Amiri from Afghanistan:
Chip Henriss, Australian Army veteran:
(There is a YouTube video of Chip speaking – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vlhJBkUrgY)
Finally, from ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) Dr Ruth Mitchell:
(There is a YouTube video of Dr Mitchell’s speech – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-s4-qZsMb8)
In the crowd there were representatives of Japanese for Peace:
A flyer being distributed advertised upcoming events – an Australia-Japan Peace forum on 23 May, and a Peace Concert on 8 August. Details are promised soon on the JfP website: http://www.jfp.or.au, email info [at] jfp.org.au
Also spotted in the crowd:
After the speeches the rally set off along LaTrobe Street:
The march ended in the Bourke Street Mall, where Jessica read through a list of current conflicts where people are dying, and members of the rally successively lay down in a symbolic “die-in” as each war was called:
There is a report with links by Takver on Sydney Indymedia.