March in March liveblog

Friday, March 14, 2014

Green Left Weekly is liveblogging March in March rallies happening this weekend. There are 31 events being held across the country.

For full details of the rallies, visit the March in March Facebook page.

Check back to this page for photos and news about the rallies as they happen.

Photos sent by Green Left supporters are being uploaded to the gallery here.

Post rally video reports




Another Melbourne video

Sunday, March 16, 8:40PM AEST

As the dust settles, we've found the official organisers' estimate of the rally in Melbourne, which puts it at 30,000. We had reported one union official's count of 50,000 and we're not saying that was wrong, that is the range of estimates.

Our source in Adelaide turned out to be one of the more conservative estimates of crowd size, with many other estimates putting the crowd at over 5000, rather than the lower 2000 we reported earlier.

When you amend our figures below with these new estimates, it means that on the lower crowd estimates there were at least 65,000 attending nationally so far (and we still haven't counted some large regional towns); and closer to 100,000 if the higher estimates were accurate.

Sunday, March 16, 5PM AEST

We have collated reports on rally attendance from around the country. While there always will be disputes over figures, it seems the rallies yesterday and today have had at least 85,000 people attending, and probably around 100,000 or more.

Here's what we've heard so far:

Saturday: Darwin 4-500, Cairns 800-1000, Caboolture 200, Toowoomba 300, Lismore 5000, Gosford 1500-2000, Armidale 450.

Sunday: Hobart 3000, Melbourne 50 000, Adelaide 2000, Sydney 7-10 000, Perth 2000, Brisbane 6-8000, Newcastle 2-2500, Wollongong 1-3000, Byron Bay 2500-3500, Coffs Harbour 1500, Blue Mountains 700-1000, Mackay 60.

There are a number of smaller rallies we haven't yet heard a figure on, and as reports come in some of the estimates here may still change.

Here's a video of the entire Newcastle march passing, from Niko Leka. Pic at right from Shaine Stephen in Hobart.

Sunday, March 16, 4:15PM AEST

Alex Bainbridge sent a short video report on the Perth march, followed by video of his speech about the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership:

Sunday, March 16, 3:45PM AEST

About 2000 in Newcastle marched from Pacific to Civic Park, Stephen O'Brien reports.

There was a strong contingent from AMWU of up to 200, plus 20 + Nurses campaigning for retention of counselling services. Other unions who attended included the PSA and MUA.

The indigenous community's presence was noteable.

Sunday, March 16, 3:30PM AEST

Marg Gleeson sent this report from the Brisbane rally:

"While the last speakers are on, a cop car in pursuit of a motor cyclist stopped at lights. The demo cheered on the bikie, then ran down the street. Police re-inforcements have arrived. There is a blockade of the street.

"The police let the biker go, but ran over an elderly Catholic Anarchist. An ambulance has arrived. The road is still blockaded."

Despite a rainstorm at the start, Peter Boyle reports that the Sydney rally was 10,000 strong and stretched for five city blocks. A short video of the march is below.

Sunday, March 16, 2:25PM AEST

Tony Iltis reports from Melbourne that Manufacturing Workers' Union organiser Chris Spindler did an unofficial head count and came up with 50,000 people at the rally.

Tony reported an amusing "Ditch the Warlock" placard at the rally, but says the protest is diverse, grassroots, and otherwise completely unlike the "astroturf" right-wing protests against the Gillard government.

Alex Bainbridge in Perth reports from their rally of over 1500-2000 that he spoke against the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, with Marcus Hampson from Refugee Rights Action Network speaking before him, and followed by Sam Cavallaro from the Curtin University student guild.

Green Left has received reports that there are 6-8000 at the Brisbane rally, 2500 or more in Byron Bay, 1500 in Coffs Harbour, and 2500 in Newcastle.

Picture below of the Melbourne march.

Sunday, March 16, 1:40PM AEST

Perth is gathered for the Welcome to Country ceremony to kick off their March in March.

Meanwhile, the huge turnout in Melbourne has been matched by proportionately huge gatherings in other cities such as Adelaide, Coffs Harbour, Hobart and many more.

Unions have been turning out in contingents across the country, with the Maritime Union of Australia having a notable presence in many cities, as well as other unions. Here's the Services Union in Brisbane.

Sunday, March 16, 1PM AEST

Tony Iltis reports that the front of the Melbourne rally is reaching Parliament House now, while people are still leaving the State Library at the other end.

Crowd estimates for Melbourne are over 20,000 people, making this the largest anti-government protest for some time.

Dominic in Brisbane reports a strong turnout from Civil Liberties Network and United Motorcycle Council. "Campbell Newman is also on the nose," he said.

Picture: the Brisbane event, from Dominic Hale.

Sunday, March 16, 12:35PM AEST

Shaine Stephen reports from Hobart that the rally there is 3000 strong and still growing.

Speakers at the event have expressed the need to fund all six years of the Gonski education reforms, and the fact that there are more jobs in supporting renewable energy than in the logging industry.

Picture below from Linda Seaborn via Twitter

Sunday, March 16, 12:20PM AEST

Twitter photos and comments confirm that the Melbourne protest has packed out the whole of Swanston St in front of the state library, with complaints that if the rally doesn't march off soon, people won't be able to get out of Melbourne Central station to join it.

Picture below from Shary Bobbins on Twitter:

Sunday, March 16, 9AM AEST

Around 10,000 people marched yesterday, but there's precious little media coverage yet. Besides our effort here, NoFibs is also publishing many reports, and journalist Wendy Bacon has blogged her summary of yesterday's marches.

In this short video, comedian Akmal Saleh gives a serious speech at Darwin's rally:

Sunday, March 16, 8:30AM AEST

Jonathan Strauss, who was part of the Cairns March in March organising group and spoke at Saturday's rally there, said he was "short-term exhausted but long-term elated".

"The 800 people who came to March in March in Cairns is the largest demonstration here, except for Labour Day, in five years. There was a huge variety of people: younger, older, unionists, environmentalists, first time marchers, and so on. A big contribution in attendance and organising beforehand came from the towns around Cairns, too, such as Innisfail, Kuranda, Mareeba, Port Douglas and Tully."

"Credit is due to the national initiators of March in March for resolving just a couple of months ago to seek to express what is an emerging desire for action. And to local organisers everywhere for taking up the challenge, whatever the experience they had had in organising demonstrations before."

"In Cairns we are crystal clear that this is just the start. Planning the future begins this coming week. And I know across the country others are also asking the question: how do we create and sustain a movement that will succeed?"

"We will need to try different things, and I guess some will not work while others do. What we need to do is have the resolve - not just the will, but ideas and perspective - to keep going until politics in this country serves the people, the 99 per cent, not corporations and the rich."

Saturday, March 15, 10PM AEST

Report from Darwin: An estimated 400 people came to March in March on March 15.

Opposition to power privatisation , fracking and development in the Darwin Harbour were local issues people mobilised around.

There was a large contingent of refugee rights activists and a contingent from the Maritime Union of Australia. Comedian Akmal Saleh also spoke.

Cairns was 800 strong, vibrant and fun. The march heard from a large number of local activists and local musicians and performers, before and after the march. Refugee rights were a key theme.

Gina Mine Hard put in a special appearance, before realising the march wasn't for Tony Abbott, but against him.

Saturday, March 15, 4:10PM AEST

Reports from Twitter that over 3000 have rallied in Lismore, with some saying over 5000. There have also been rallies in Darwin, NT; Gosford, Grafton and Armidale, NSW; and Cairns, Toowoomba and Caboolture in QLD, with crowd estimates of thousands in total, not counting Lismore.

If we can get other sources to verify those crowd numbers we will publish it here as soon as we do. It seems clear from photos that there have been thousands on the streets already for March in March.

Saturday, March 15, 3:30PM AEST

Twitter reports large crowds at Lismore, NSW and Darwin, NT March in March events. Miss Tropicalie @MinhKular shared this picture of Welcome to Country via Twitter, from the Darwin march:

Saturday, March 15, 3:13PM AEST

Armidale, NSW rallied for March in March today at 2PM. Bea Bleile, a local activist and Socialist Alliance member, spoke at the rally.

"Currently our society puts short term pro ts for the few above the needs of the majority and of
future generations," she said.

"By failing to act on climate change; by polluting our water to extract coal and coal seam gas, thus accelerating climate change; by cutting funds for welfare, health and education; by privatising public infrastructure and services; by outsourcing prisons and detention centres; and the list goes on."

"Formally the decisions are made by politicians - politicians trying to keep us passive and obedient
by making us scared of asylum seekers arriving by boat."

She told the rally, "March in March provides hope and strength: By uniting a wide range of people
and concerns, it allows us to draw connections between these concerns, to analyse the underlying
causes and to combine our energy."

Pic: "building the new opposition in Armidale" from Kathy Nicholson on Twitter.

From GLW issue 1001


Larger turn out in Perth

The low estimate for Perth really should be at 2000 not 1500. There are also estimates flying around between 4-5000 and some even higher. I counted approx 2000 at the end of the speakers platform before the march so was responsible for a 2000-2500 estimate. However I've spoken to someone else who counted a similar number at that time and then counted 3500 at the time of the march. Since not everyone marched, he's guessing 4-5000 turned out. Given we counted similar at a particular point, I'm sympathetic to the idea that there were actually closer to 4-5000 over all at the rally.