Rallies demand ‘troops out now!’

Photo by Peter Boyle.

On the ninth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, 200 people rallied in Sydney to demand that the Gillard Labor government pull the troops out.

Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glenndening slammed the government over its hypocritical and cruel stand on Afghan refugees; Sylvia Hale from the Greens talked up the coming parliamentary debate; and Fire Brigades Employee Union secretary Jim Casey and Graeme Dunstan from Stand Fast spoke of the need to engage military families in the anti-war movement.

At three separate locations in Melbourne, a group of 50 people spontaneously fell to the ground and acted dead, reflecting the increasing war casualties and dramatising their opposition.

The event was followed by speeches from Richard Tanter, RMIT Nautilus Institute and newly elected Greens MP Adam Bandt, who said "to take Australian troops out of harm’s way, we should bring them home now”.

Kamala Emanuel reports from Perth that more than 50 people rallied against the Afghan war.

Alex Bainbridge from Socialist Alliance told the crowd the war was based on lies and should be ended. Greens senator Scott Ludlam said the war would finally be debated in parliament for the first time at the Greens’' insistence.

Phil Chilton from the Refugee Rights Action Network said the army was not an effective tool to build democracy and the Australian government refusal to welcome refugees from Afghanistan showed that they have no concern for the Afghan people.