‘March in March’ – the Melbourne Rally and March, 16 March 2014

Melbourne responded to the callout (see http://marchinmarchaustralia.org/ and the Melbourne march Facebook page) with one of the largest rallies since the 2003 protests against the war in Iraq. Figures varied widely, as usual, but we are rather inclined to the upper end of the claims, or towards 50,000. It was also one of the most varied, and in recognition of this we are posting the largest selection of images so far on this site for one event. There is also a choice of thumbnail/gallery or slideshow, the latter comprising lower resolution copies. It may be in order to post a few separately:

Part of crowd at start of rally

A very small part of the rally at the State Library

Black and red flag

The holder of this flag told us it was 45 years old – dating back to moratorium days

Placard in German - 'These crimes, your blame'

International contribution

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6 August 2011 at the GPO – Hiroshima Day vigil and more

Women in Black and Japanese for Peace banners on steps of GPO

Representatives of Japanese for Peace and ICAN held a low-key vigil on the steps of the old GPO in Bourke Street, displaying banners and handing out flyers for the afternoon’s Peace Concert at the State Library and postcards relating to the Future Fund’s investments in the nuclear weapons industry (see The Age 26 May 2011; there is an article on the same subject in the current issue of Friends of the Earth’s Chain Reaction). They shared the venue with members of Women in Black also holding a vigil calling for peace in Palestine:

Women in Black banner on steps of GPO

The main event of the day was of course the concert, and the vigil was a very small affair, but a good many passers-by took the offered leaflets or at least had their attention caught by the banners and the traditional Japanese cranes:

Japanese for Peace banner

Paper crane at foot of one of the pillars

One of the speakers listed for the Peace Concert was Felicity Hill of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,and a WILPF banner can be seen attracting attention here:

WILPF banner on steps of GPO

And the message ‘No More Hiroshimas’ was displayed in more than one way:

Placard and t-shirt with 'No More Hiroshimas' message

Vigil in Support of Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers – 21 March 2011

On the 21st March, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, with international supporters, planned to plant trees and hold a candlelight vigil in Kabul, Afghanistan. They had asked people around the world to also hold vigils in support. In Melbourne, a small group of peace activists held banners and handed out leaflets outside St Paul’s cathedral…

Among them were army veteran Chip Henriss and Jessica Morrison, recently returned from Afghanistan (see http://jesspeacepilgrim.wordpress.com/):

Jessica and Chip with another peace activist

The leaflet featured a statement by Abdulai, a fifteen year old Afghan boy whose father was killed by the Taliban.(http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/2011/02/i-wish-to-live-without-wars-an-afghan-boy/):

“I see the unchanging system of the rich and powerful in which my world is violently collapsing and human hope for a decent life leaves my heart. So, in solidarity with the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Gaza, the Middle East, North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia, and with the people of the world, I will walk for peace; I will light my candles; I will plant my trees.”

See further http://www.livewithoutwars.org/lwwarsproject.html

The reverse of the leaflet set out “Reasons to end the Afghanistan War” – see report on a “Peak Hour vigil for Peace” on this site for 14 Sept 2010

There was a ‘wish bucket’:

Large basket decorated with wishes

… and Bob Dylan contributed:

International Peace Day in Melbourne, 21 September – 2, Retire the Bomb!

Elderly 'bomb' with placard - 65 years on it's time to retire the bomb

ICAN in Melbourne marked the day at the State Library with a mock retirement party for the Bomb, which was also an opportunity for people to add their video messages to the One Million Pleas campaign.

"Bomb" handing out booklets

The decidedly superannuated-looking bomb spent much of the time on a convenient couch next to a table with tea things, but at intervals got up to help distribute a recently published ICAN booklet entitled ‘The Case Against Nuclear Weapons’(also viewable online – there is a copy next to the teapot here –

Table with tea things

– as well as obliging passers-by and children by posing for photos:

"Bomb" seated, with friends

Seated with young woman

One young woman was wearing a notice that it was her birthday, and offering free hugs:

Seated with 'birthday girl'

Hugging the Bomb

‘He’ was particularly popular with the children:

"Bomb" towering over group of children

Visit http://www.icanw.org.au

International Peace Day in Melbourne, 21 September – 1, Billboard Launch at Federation Square

Train arriving - billboard in background

What looks at first to be rather cryptic graffiti is in fact a billboard carrying an entry in a young girl’s diary from 1972, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Artist Kathleen McCann, who was responsible for the performance Who By Fire reported here on 4 June, negotiated with the management of Federation Square to display the billboard on Russell Street near the intersection with Flinders Street – where it is clearly visible from passing trains as well as the road.

the billboard in closeup


The diary was kept by her sister, then nine years old, and contains besides the featured entry others such as “today there was five fires…”, “We went to the doctors for our injection There was alot of explosions tonight”, “today was a bloody sunday 13 people were murderded by the soldiers”. (Facsimiles from her sister’s diary are used in Kathleen McCann’s contribution to the series of poster published by Breakdown Press under the title ‘Peace Posters’.

The diary- open at the page

THe diary - open at the page

Kathleen with the diary- Dave Sweeney of ACF looks on

Kathleen with the diary- Dave Sweeney of ACF looks on

Today was chosen to “launch” the billboard, and the artist can be seen here with her parents and fellow activists as well as a representative of the management. There is an AVANTcard of the featured diary entry, and the Peace Posters are obtainable from the publisher – email distro@breakdownpress.org.

Artist with family and others at the launch

Artist with family and others at the launch

There was also the option of a stamp to mark the occasion:

Arm with diary entry ink-stamped - billboard in background

Another view, with MCG and Rod Laver Arena in background

Another view, with MCG and Rod Laver Arena in background

Palm Sunday Peace Rally and March – 5 April

Head of march down Elizabeth Street

Head of march down Elizabeth Street

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:

The ecumenical service before the rally and march

The ecumenical service before the rally and march

During the service

During the service

A short break between the service and the rally was the cue for hiphop artists the Ringwood Boiz:

Ringwood Boiz in action

Ringwood Boiz in action

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):

Jessica Morrison was MC

Jessica Morrison was MC

Among the speakers she introduced were Reem Yunis from Palestine:

Speaker representing the people of Palestine

Speaker representing the people of Palestine

Rahmat Amiri from Afghanistan:

Speaker representing the people of Afghanistan

Speaker representing the people of Afghanistan

Chip Henriss, Australian Army veteran:

Army veteran condemning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Army veteran condemning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

(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:

Dr Ruth Mitchell of ICAN

Dr Ruth Mitchell of ICAN

(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:

Banner of Japanese for Peace

Banner 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:

"Hearts" in the crowd

After the speeches the rally set off along LaTrobe Street:

March in LaTrobe Street

March in LaTrobe Street

MAPW in LaTrobe Street

MAPW in LaTrobe Street

Bringing up the rear in LaTrobe Street

Bringing up the rear in 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:

"Die-in" - beginning

"Die-in" - continued

"Die-in" - completed

There is a report with links by Takver on Sydney Indymedia.

More information: