As the bombs started falling on Baghdad on March 20, over 50,000 people gathered spontaneously in Melbourne, Australia, for the first of many rallies to come.
Day X. Australia.
Fifty thousand protest in Melbourne against Howard’s war role
On Wednesday 19 March, the right wing Australian Prime Minister John Howard committed around 2,000 Australian Troops to fight in the conflict. This decision was made solely within the Liberal Party Cabinet with no consultation to the opposition party, let alone the general public. Howard, like Blair, had, in reality, already committed his government to a US led imperialist war months ago with the pre-deployment of Australian troops to the region.
The anger and disbelief of Australians has been growing daily as Howard continues to refuse to listen to anyone except George Bush. March 20 saw the Senate passed a resolution condemning Howard’s commitment of Australia to the war.
The Socialist Party in Melbourne had a fantastic intervention at this first rally.
As at a previous anti-war rally, we hired a truck and had live bands on the back. We had many stalls at the main rally as well as two at the High School Strike that was attended by around 1,500 students. Socialist Party members worked with Youth Against War at this rally also and had been involved in the preceding weeks to build the rally. We were able to sell around 250 papers and approximately 15 new members joined on the day. We also sold hundreds of badges and stickers.
After the main rally finished at the Australian Defence Barracks in the city the Socialist Party led a march to the US Embassy where around 1,000 protesters listened to speeches by members and music.
The protests in Melbourne will continue throughout the next week on a daily basis. The Melbourne Trades Hall has called a two-hour strike in the city on Friday 21 March. This will see all the building sites in the city shut down as workers walk off jobs to show their anger at the US, Australia and their Allies in their quest for imperialist dominance. Youth Against War has been officially invited to speak to the strike rally organised by the Trades Hall.