3500 rally for refugees and against war



SYDNEY — Around 3500 people stood for a minute's silence on October 26 to remember the 353 refugees who drowned needlessly one year ago to the day. The victims of the October 13 Bali bombings were also remembered.

Beyond that, the demonstration was anything but silent. Many speakers addressed the crowd, drawing attention to the links between the refugees' rights and anti-war campaigns. They also condemned the federal government's treatment of refugees and its support for a US-led war on Iraq. The message was then taken to the streets.

Ali Mehdi Sobie, an Iraqi who lost his wife and three children on the SIEV-X, the boat that sank, asked: “Why should I lose my family, is the government's policy worthwhile?”

Kate Gaultier, from Children Out of Detention (ChilOut), declared she would rather go to jail than pay a war tax. She called on everyone else to do the same.

On October 27, 300 people braved heavy rain to rally in Perth against the war.

From Green Left Weekly, October 30, 2002.
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