Thousands of Melbournians joined the #Walk4Justice on Palm Sunday 2016. Adding their voice to the calls to Close Manus and Nauru, provide permanent protection and to free refugees from mandatory detention.
People from all walks of life including health workers, teachers, office workers, factory workers, unionists, religious groups, grandparents, parents, students and more combined to send a message to the Australian government to #LetThemStay and #BringThemHere. Support for refugees is simply a call for fair treatment for people in need. And on Palm Sunday in Melbourne and in cities and towns all across the county people demonstrated their commitment and demand for a change to unfair policies that cause untold harm and damage to people that are fleeing danger and seeking to build a better life.
Gathering at the State Library the large crowd (estimated by some at around 15,000 people) was entertained by the South of the River Choir and Celine Yap before some listening to some inspiring speeches. Corinne Grant welcomed the crowd, conducted an acknowledgement of country and was a masterful MC for the event.
Speakers for the at the State Library included:
- Daniel Webb – Human Rights Law Centre
- Nazir Yousafi – Refugee & President Victorian Afghan Associations Network
- Senator Sarah Hanson Young – Australian Greens (State Library)
- Interfaith Panel: Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black – The Leo Baeck Centre, Mohamed Mohideen – Islamic Council of Victoria, Stuart McMillan, President Uniting Church (State Library)
The crowd began the walk down Swanston street to the vibrant songs of the “Shaking the Tree” choir. Stretching out along the city blocks sharing the call for justice for refugees with people through the city.
At the Queen Victoria Garden the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir brought smiles to people’s faces as they gathered to hear from more speakers.
- Lisa Fitzpatrick – State Secretary ANMF
- Shen Narayanasamy – GetUp!
- Pamela Curr – Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
A guest performance from Dan Sultan was a reward for those that had made the walk through the city.
Palm Sunday is a special day on the Melbourne calendar but the fight for Refugee Rights continues every day of the year.
Please contact your local MP by email, phone or letter and let them know that we need to change policies to protect refugees rather than put them in harms way.
Talk to your friends, family, work colleagues, at your place of worship, at your club or society or at your local cafe. The more people know how much damage is caused by these unfair policies, the more they hear about the waste of money that could be spent on schools, hospitals or many other worthy causes the louder the call for change.