‘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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Occupy Melbourne Day 7 – Police move in …

See video links at end of post, added later… (23 October – added a few frame captures to the slideshow from the video)(24 October – converted slideshow into gallery. Click on thumbnails for larger images.)

Occupy Melbourne Manifesto

As mentioned in the previous post, we were not able to get down to the City Square by the 9am deadline, but we were in time (about 11.30am) to see the final stages of the dismantling of the tent city, and the deployment of riot police against the remaining occupiers by this time ‘kettled’ in the centre. This was followed by the use of horses and threat of dogs to clear the rest of the square and subsequently the entire intersection and stretches of Swanston Street northwards beyond the Town Hall and south to some distance that was not clear from where we were.
Riot police overpower occupier, one has knee on his head...
Police German Shepherd at protest

With memory cards full we left about 2.15pm, with a standoff continuing in Swanston Street just north of the Town Hall: an announcement on the tram seemed to suggest that this had turned into a march up Bourke Street…

The following images will not appear in any particular order, but should be self-explanatory. As before, the place to go is Occupy Melbourne and related Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not forgetting Melbourne Indymedia, of course.

Added a few hours later: anyone viewing the slideshow gallery above would have realised there was something missing. Hopefully the following videos will fill the gaps:


Remembering “the other September 11” – Trades Hall, Melbourne, 11 September 2011

Commemorative plaque in foyer of Trades Hall

Commemorative plaque in foyer of Trades Hall

As mentioned in the previous post, LASNET commemorated the 1973 coup in Chile with speakers, music and a showing of the film ‘The Black Pimpernel‘ at Trades Hall yesterday:
Beginning of film screening
Background to the coup and the situation in Chile today was provided by Rodrigo:

Rodrigo speaking before the film

Rodrigo speaking before the film

Poster of Allende from 2008

Enough is Enough! For Chilean Students, Workers & Mapuche People! – Federation Square, Melbourne, 10 September 2011

On the eve of the anniversary of not only the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but also of the 1973 CIA-backed Pinochet coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, LASNET organised a rally in solidarity with students, workers, and Indigenous people currently struggling against another right-wing government in Chile, that of Sebastian Piñera (see analysis by Council on Hemispheric Affairs).

The rally alternated speech and song, the latter in Spanish, and passers-by were offered a leaflet, the text of which is reproduced below. LASNET also plans a commemoration of the 1973 coup at Trades Hall tomorrow – see Remembering the Other September 11. (There is, of course, another reason for commemorating this date, as a speaker pointed out at the end: Melbourne’s own “9/11”, the World Economic Forum of 2000 … See http://www.takver.com/history/s11.htm)

See also http://chilesolidarity.org

Text of leaflet:

While much of the world’s attention this year has been turned toward events in the Northern hemisphere – the Arab Spring, the Spanish and Greek street assemblies, the riots in the UK, the violence in Libya- an equally interesting and potentially more radical movement has been taking place in Chile. Chilean students and the poor who have been excluded from “the Chilean miracle” of American-trained free marketeers have waged fierce battle with the cops. One teenager has been killed in the streets, shot by police in Macul, a borough of Santiago. Initial reports described the victim as a protester; later ones say he may have been an onlooker. His family places the blame squarely on the police. Whatever the final determination, he was a casulaty in a conflict that has pitted Chilean youth against a social order that is old, decrepit, and brutal.

The Chilean movement has emerged in the throes of winter in the Southern hemisphere, with young people going out into the icy streets, braving the elements, of course, and, more importantly, directly challenging the Chilean state and its gendarmes, showing determination and resolve in the face of the military police. These cops are the ‘carabineros’ of sinister memory under Pinochet. Their vehicles include armored personnel carriers, and they shoot water cannons at demonstrators. They more resemble an occupying army than a riot squad.

We want to remember Manuel Guttierrez Reinoso, the teenager killed on the night of August 24, but we want to do more than that: we want to actively support the broader rebellion and struggles in Chile. We see something in the protest movement there that we identify with: it is a struggle that is ours as well. The Chilean protests began as a student movement demanding the right to public education, and at no cost to students, even at the university level. The protests began on a whimsical note, with mass “kiss-ins” and other creative gestures. What made Chile different from Australia was the Chilean workers and the poor saw the students’ fight as one they should support as well. As the movement spread, it encountered stiff resistance from the state and its armed wing, the police. What started with a kind of poetry turned into social movements struggles[sic].

With this rally today September 10 in Melbourne-Australia, we are supporting the main sectors actively opposing the neoliberal policies, we are supporting the Mapuche (Indigenous people in Chile and Argentina) in their struggle for autonomy and self-determination, asking the right-wing government to stop the repression and discrimination against them; today we are supporting the workers’ struggles for better conditions and to stop the casualisation which is conducted to impoverish Chilean society, we need to stop neoliberal policies, we need to build something different to capitalism; all [are] welcome in this endeavour.

Picket of Chilean Consulate in support of Mapuche Hunger Strikers – 17 September.

Mapuche flags outside the consulate

The Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) organised a picket outside the Chilean Consulate in Melbourne at lunchtime today, displaying the Mapuche flag and delivering a letter to be forwarded to the President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera.

Protester outside the consulate

Last Monday, 13 September, was the third anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Meanwhile, in Chile, 32 Mapuche political prisoners have been on hunger strike for over 65 days in protest at the Chilean Government’s continued violation of the human rights of the country’s Indigenous people.

Placard demanding justice for Mapuche prisoners

The letter draws attention to the contradiction between the UN Declaration and the present lack of respect shown by the Chilean Government towards the Mapuche people, who it says “are currently subjected to frequent violent raids, where the victims are usually children and elders … the indiscriminate and fixed use of protected witnesses including minors; the excessive duration of investigation headed by the Public Ministry that only prepetuates preventive imprisonment.” It mentions as a particular concern from an Australian perspective “the application of the Anti-terrorist Law … created under the military government which led to the arbitrary judicial decision against the Mapuche people. We consider that this action attempts [to overturn] the democracy and human rights principles that [the Chilean Government]says it represents.”

There follows a list of demands, beginning with the “Immediate devolution of Mapuche ancestral territories and land” and the letter ends with the names of supporting organisations in Australia, including the Chilean Popular and Indigenous Solidarity Network,LASNET, Friends of the Earth – Australia, and many others.

Protesters with letter at door of consulate

The Consul-General receives the letter

The Anarchist Black Cross also sent a message of support, which was read out at the picket, and passers-by were offered a flier for the upcoming Solidarity Gathering to be held at Trades Hall on October 15-17 under the banner of “Defending Workers and Indigenous Rights – Building bridges and global resistance against Multinational Corporations” – details and the flier can be found on the LASNET website – http://www.latinlasnet.org/

Flier for October gathering

LASNET are also holding a Latin Fiesta/Solidarity Spring Party on Saturday 25 September on the theme “Protecting our planet, defending our communities!” – starting at 7pm at the MUA Hall, 54 Ireland Street, West Melbourne, details also on the LASNET website.

Flier for September 25 Fiesta

There will be more protests until the Chilean Government takes heed…

Mapuche flag

Protest at Israeli attack on aid flotilla – 1 June 2010

Protest banners in Bourke Street mall at start of protest

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign called an emergency action in response to Israel’s lethal attack on peace activists on board a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.  In spite of the extraordinarily short notice – scarcely 24 hours – as many as 1500 people assembled in the Bourke Street Mall to voice their anger and condemnation of Israel’s action. There was a long list of speakers, including Greens Senate candidate Adam Bandt and union leaders, representatives of the Turkish and other communities, as well as a strong anti-Zionist Jewish voice towards the end, when the protest had moved through the streets to the State Library. There is more about the rally on Melbourne Indymedia and video on YouTube:

(Also on EngageMedia)

Banner at head of march - "Shame Israel"

Solidarity with Aotearoa/NZ arrestees – International Day of Action

Banner at Federation Square

Under the slogan “Activism is not Terrorism” about 70 Melburnians joined a protest rally at Federation Square at noon on Saturday 27 October – one of a series of such rallies scheduled across the world to express opposition to the recent and ongoing attacks on activists and dissent in Aotearoa/NZ. MC was long-time Indigenous Rights activist Robbie Thorpe of the Krautungalung people of the Gunnai Nation, the traditional owners of Lake Tyers. Other speakers included Sina Brown, Sina Brown, Polynesian Anti Globalisation Activist;Marisol Salinas Mapuche, Environmental Activist, Lasnet; Rayna Fahey, Treaty, Green Activist; Will Anderson from Civil Rights Defence; Liz Thompson, Ongoing G20 Arrestees Solidarity Network, FairWear; and Anthony Main, Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination, Socialist Party. Waiata/song was provided by Ivan Davis (Tainui). Statements were also read out by representatives of the Anarchist Black Cross ( see http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74026/index.php) and Socialist Alliance ( see http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/729/37796) – and there was an open mic session at the end. As reported elsewhere (http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74008/index.php) there was also fundraising involving cupcakes …
See also:

There is video of the rally on EngageMedia: