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Peaceful protesters reject Far-Right violence

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Over 1,000 protesters made their voices heard against Far-Right fascism in Melbourne (Screenshot via YouTube)

Dr Martin Hirst attended the Stop the Far-Right rally in Melbourne on 20 November, organised to counter the fascism seen in anti-vax rallies.

THE CAMPAIGN Against Racism and Fascism (CARF) held a successful and peaceful protest against the anti-vaxxer Far-Right and the fascists in their ranks. It’s well documented now that organised Nazi groups are attempting to hijack the anti-vax protests for their own violent and racist ends.

(Melbourne's Eight Hour Day Monument, a great place to kick off the rally)

CARF decided that the Far-Right needs to know that the fascists always lose in Melbourne and that if there are fascists in your movement, then your movement is fascist.

(CARF's message to the fascists: "You will always lose in Melbourne")

The links between the Far-Right and the Morrison Government also did not go unnoticed.

(On point political messaging in this random grouping of placards)

The CARF rally began at the Eight Hour Day Monument opposite Melbourne Trades Hall to make the clear link between the union movement and our protest against the Far-Right. The current round of protests kicked off with a violent attack on the headquarters of the CFMEU in September. A rank-and-file CFMEU member was a featured speaker at the Stop The Far-Right Rally. He called on the trade union movement to mobilise and reminded the crowd that attacks on trade unions are a feature of fascist movements.

(Zane Alcorn, rank-and-file CFMEU member speaking on 20 November in Melbourne)

The rally was peaceful, lively and colourful. It was an opportunity for people to show that there is opposition to the Far-Right. The “pink lady” was one of my favourites. I took a photo of her at the beginning and spoke to her at the end of the rally outside the Park Hotel. Like many of us she was smiling from ear to ear, just a bit hot and sweaty.

(Lots of colourful characters with homemade signs)

The CARF marshals were clearly identified by their hi-vis vests and kept the rally safe from the occasional fascist provocateur and ensured we had a disciplined, peaceful, lively and political march.

(A well-disciplined group of CARF marshals kept the rally safe and defused any potential clashes with the Far-Right)

The only incidents occurred when the provocateurs who call themselves independent journalists – Avi Yemini and “Real” Rukshan – tried to provoke a violent response from the CARF march. The discipline of the march and our always peaceful intention not to engage with Far-Right and fascist agitators was too much for their attempted sabotage. We were even able to enjoy a joke at their expense. “Trashkan” Rukshan’s journalist ID is as fake as he is.

(A humorous placard; fake journalist "Real Rukshan" and his homemade ID card)

First Nations woman and powerhouse socialist activist Kim Bullimore spoke outside the Park Hotel making the links between refugees in detention and Far-Right policies enacted by the Morrison Government.

(Murri woman and activist Kim Bullimore speaking outside the Park Hotel, Melbourne)

Said Bullimore:

“Real oppression is 500 First Nations people dying in custody in Australia; real oppression is the Zionist occupation of Palestinian land; having to wear a mask or get a jab is not oppression.”

(The 1,000-strong crowd marched to the Park Hotel where a number of refugees are currently imprisoned. Many are exposed to COVID-19 and have had inadequate medical care)

Victorian Socialists candidate for the Senate at the next election, Aran Mylvaganam, Tamil refugee, union activist and socialist, spoke outside the Park Hotel about why there is a strong political link between stopping Far-Right mobilisations and supporting freedom for detained refugees.

(Aran Mylvaganam, from the Tamil Refugee Council, outside the Park Hotel, Melbourne)

Thanks to everybody who allowed me to capture their homemade placards.

(Lots of homemade signs. The CARF rally was an opportunity for people to gather and protest safely)

We are not going away. Our next #StopTheFarRight rally will be on 4 December.

(CARF is promising to return on 4 December)

Dr Martin Hirst is an Independent Australia columnist, journalist, author and academic. You can follow him on Twitter @ethicalmartini.

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