An emergency speak-out: "Hands off Venezuela" was called by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) at Sydney Town Hall on April 19. Almost 100 people attended the rally, plus a small counter-protest of about a dozen Venezuelan supporters of the right-wing opposition.
The rally called for "an immediate end to the opposition-initiated violence [in Venezuela], and to demand that the US and Australian governments come out and recognise [Nicolas Maduro] as Venezuela's head of state."
Almost 20 speakers in all addressed the rally, representing many political organisations and solidarity groups. Included were Paula Sanchez from the Latin American Social Forum (LASF) who expressed the deep feelings of solidarity held by members of the Latin American community in Australia for the gains of the Venezuelan revolution.
The audience demanded that the US and other Western governments stop interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela, and that the world recognise the democratic victory of Maduro as the properly elected successor to now deceased President Hugo Chavez.
Pip Hinman spoke of her experience attending the AVSN solidarity brigade, which observed the great electoral campaign and victory by president Chavez last October.
Roberto Jorquera spoke on behalf of AVSN about the need for increased solidarity with Venezuela under growing opposition right-wing and US attack.
Other speakers included Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the coming federal election Peter Boyle; Diane Fieldes from Socialist Alternative; and Ben Peterson from the socialist youth organisation Resistance.
Members of the Latin American community stressed the importance of the continuity of the Venezuelan revolution for the advance of Latin America as a whole.
The final speaker was Alfonse De Gill, a Venezuelan residing in Australia, who stressed that the democratic vote for Maduro was in the process of being validated by a 100% audit of the electronic votes of the Venezuelan people.
The rally concluded with a call for ongoing and increased international and Australian solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution, and the need to campaign against further interference in the country's internal politics by the US and its allies.
Below: Photos of the action by Peter Boyle.