ARMED with banners, flags and loudspeakers, the hundreds of anti-racism protestors that turned up at Flinders Street Station on April 9 caused the cancellation of an anti-immigration and Islam rally that was was supposed to take place on the day.
Ben Courtice from the Socialist Alliance, said the Unite Against Racism rally was a success.
“Government policies allow an atmosphere that targets immigrants, and that is the root of the problem,” he said.
“All this also leads to international students being targeted.
“We need to change our immigration laws and not use international students as the basis for exploitation.”
Grassroots leaders who showed their solidarity at the rally included Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins, indigenous leader Sharon Firebrace from the Black Rights Action Group, and Greens candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Adam Brandt.
Muslim leaders, who were absent for fear of confrontation, passed on their good wishes through their Christian and Jewish counterparts.
The rally also attracted left-wing groups not directly associated with anti-racism causes.
Madeline Hudson, who called herself a “humanitarian environmentalist,” was there on behalf of a group fighting for Aboriginal land rights.
“It ties in with today’s cause because it’s all about human rights,” she said.
“We are in a unique position in Melbourne, because so many Federal representatives are here, and we can apply constituent pressure.”
The rally ended on a triumphant note, with organisers satisfied that their message of unity had succeeded in preventing a racist rally in Melbourne.