Well, that was the rally that was.
In brief, on Sunday approximately 20 or 30 members and supporters of the ‘Australian Defence League’ (ADL) gathered at midday at Federation Square. Gathering in opposition were perhaps 1 or 200 or so anti-racists. For about an hour the anti-racists–gathered under the umbrella of ‘The Rally Against Racism and Fascism’–listened to a number of speeches, a man singing about how we are all brothers, and the screams and shouts of the ADL.
Vision of both sides can be found elsewhere on the web, but the featured speaker for the ADL was not, surprisingly, the Londoner Martin Brennan (parachuted in, with EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon‘s blessing, to take charge of the incompetent Australians) but some other bloke. I dunno what he was on about–quite a lot judging by the array of placards he’d placed in front of his impromptu platform.
Anyway, after an hour so, it was decided that it was probably time for the Englishman to lead the defensive Australians in a retreat from the Square. And so, after some five or so minutes of pushing, the ADL was evicted.
And that was pretty much it.
Not an auspicious beginning to Martin’s plan to whip the convicts into shape, but certainly an improvement upon the (other) ADL’s attempt to stand about the steps of Flinders Street Station in April last year. Nobody was arrested and nobody was injured (that I know of) although one older woman–I think there to protest the ADL–was jostled and quite upset when she was finally able to make her way out from the brief melee. Presumably, if he doesn’t piss off back to London, Martin will rally his followers again at some point, and the cycle will be repeated.
Props to all those who took a public stand against the ADL’s bigotry, ignorance and rampant paranoia; the Herald Sun has a report–Protesters clash at anti-Muslim rally in Melbourne, John Masanauskas, May 16, 2011–and presumably there’ll be others in the days ahead…
Counter-demonstration against Fascist rally – Federation Square, peter, Indymedia Australia, May 16, 2011 | Photo of Martin Brennan.
Also: Derryn Hinch.