Training it to Melbourne’s #MarchinMarch, by @jenoutwest


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By Jenny Bates  @jenoutwest,

17 March, 2014

Our journey to March in March began Sunday morning on a standing room only train to Melbourne – amazing, considering not an AFL colour could be seen. It was obvious this march was going to be big, and it was. 

As more people squeezed in at each stop, a young teen was overheard asking, “Where are all these people going? I catch this train through the week to go to school, and it’s never this busy.” I was tempted to ask her if she worked in a coffee shop and relied on penalty rates; if so I’d  tell her we were all going to a march to save her penalty rates from Tony Abbott, who bemoaned the fact it was difficult to get a coffee on a public holiday due to these rates. There were so many other reasons I could give this young lady – kids her age and younger locked in concentration-like camps, ridiculous amounts of money spent on drones, while school kids bonuses are cut – however the train journey was not nearly long enough.

Alighting at Melbourne Central we moved like sardines into the world through the doorway into

daylight – and  and came to a stop. Wall-to-wall people as far as my camera could see. Luckily I was able to stand on a bench for crowd shots. It was also a good position to see the Melbourne Central tram reverse out of the crowd, as the driver could move no further forward due to the sheer crush of bodies surrounding him.

Tens of thousands of protesters were in sight, with many, many signs containing many different themes but the but the same underlying message; unhappiness with government decisions. Speeches were made, chants were practised and cheers were raised until it was time to begin the march to Treasury Gardens, the most popular chants were “Not in my Name” and “Shame, Abbott, Shame”.

We had to wait at least  half an hour before we could begin to move, and we were not at the rear of the column. When we turned into Bourke Street it became obvious how very big this crowd was. The tram stop roofs  along Bourke Street became prime positions for young protesters.

Goosebumps appeared as Parliament House came into view, and protesters with flags waving swarmed upon the steps while other marchers continued into Treasury Gardens. We were able to climb the steps to witness the sheer magnitude of this protest.

After absorbing this amazing sight we marched into Treasury Gardens, where it took quite a while to get close enough to the stage to hear the wonderful @vanbadham, amongst others, as well as the clever @sortius as he sorted us out about another Abbott  Government lie – the NBN.

A heavy shower did nothing to dampen the spirits of this passionate crowd of people, who simply wanted their voices heard, Victorians were also marching against controversial anti-protest laws which passed (by one vote) in the lower house last week.

No city does a protest or a sporting event better than Melbourne, in my opinion, where passionate people who care about the rights of others are willing to speak out. However, there will always be the handful of protesters with obscene signs, much like the disgusting signs Tony Abbott stood under. In Melbourne the offensive signs were very much in the minority, but as one would expect the Murdoch-owned Sky channel used these signs to attack the march while interviewing one of the organisers, and after the interview, the presenter claimed to still not understand what the march was all about. Laura Jayes, a Sky news reporter, sent out the following tweet. Twitter may only allow 140 characters but some Tweets speak volumes.

The evening was spent comparing news reports from the MSM. It was appalling, Local Melbourne Sky news covered a protest against duck hunting and ignored the 30,000 plus people marching the streets of Melbourne. Channel Nine claimed there were 12,000 protestors, showing their ignorance as they confused the rural protest numbers with the Melbourne march of 30,000. Channel Seven had better coverage, with good footage and interviews with a number of protestors. There is an obvious statement in the fact these news outlets continuously showed footage of 300 people protesting against Julia Gillard, yet failed to give decent coverage of a national total of 100,000 people protesting this government.

Tony Abbott when asked about March in March protests responded with “The only march I know of is the St Patricks Day march tomorrow” which prompted me to send this tweet:

Read More from the March In March Archive 

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