Rally Against Racism and Fascism, Federation Square, Melbourne, Sunday, May 15

[Update : A Facebook page has been created for the ‘Rally Against Racism and Fascism’ Event.]

At midday on Sunday, May 15, the ‘Australian Defence League’ is planning on holding a public rally at Fed Square followed by a march upon Parliament. The rally is being organised to protest the presence of Muslims in Australia and the supposed “Islamification” of Australian society they are (secretly) undertaking.

In response, a ‘Rally Against Racism and Fascism’ has been organised.

Where : Federation Square
When : Midday, Sunday, May 15

Please note that Federation Square will also witness celebrations associated with the Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival:

Proudly presented by Fo Guang Shan Melbourne and Buddha’s Light International Association of Victoria (BLIA VIC), the 16th Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival marks the Buddhist holidays with a unique annual event celebrating vesak or wesak (Buddha’s birthday), flavoured by Melbourne’s diverse multicultural society.

Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival incorporates the traditions of Buddhist ceremonies and celebrations including the “Bathing of the Buddha”, daily Dharma ceremonies, the Wishing Bell and traditional incense offerings, a vegetarian culinary tour of Asia alongside the Yarra on the River Terrace, cultural demonstrations and insights, music, art and craft and community service groups.

Plenty for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike!

The festival is a unique introduction to Buddhism for kids and families with special activities and games for the younger of body and mind.

The May 15 rally is the second occasion upon which the ADL has attempted to publicly demonstrate its hatred and contempt for Muslims in Melbourne. The ADL’s first rally (and march) was meant to take place on April 9, 2010. It was effectively countered by the organisation of a counter-rally, in which a broad range of individuals from the labour movement and various faith and political organisations participated.

(See : Far-Right white supremacists planning anti-Islam march on state Parliament, Padraic Murphy, Nick Leys, Herald Sun, March 27, 2010 | Photos of Anti-racism rally in Melbourne, Melbourne Leader, April 9, 2010 | Nazi salutes at Flinders Street protest (Video), The Age, April 9, 2010.)

What is the ‘Australian Defence League’?

The ADL consciously models itself upon the ‘English Defence League’, a network of anti-Muslim bigots whose ranks are swelled by racist football hooligans and whose numerous rallies, marches and protests have triggered widespread disruption and alcohol-fuelled violence.

The EDL was established in Luton in June, 2009, but has since extended itself across the country. Its leader, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) is a former member of the ‘British National Party’ and has a conviction for assault. He also likes to say ‘fuck’ a lot. (Guramit Singh is another leading figure.)

Having undergone a series of internal crises triggered by its failure to manifest a public presence in Australia, the ADL has recently been placed under the leadership of another Englishman, Martin Brennan, who promises that the League will not allow its earlier stoopid to be repeated. While the precise level of the ADL’s support is unknown, it would be nice to think that the success of last year’s counter-rally could again be repeated, and the attempt to transport the EDL Down Under defeated.

See also : Malatesta’s Blog, which cuts a dash against the fash / keeps a watching brief on the antics of the EDL and other bizarro groups on the far right in the UK | Australian Defence League: May 15 rally and counter-rally (April 30, 2011).