Rally Against Racism and Fascism, Melbourne, Sunday, May 15

In Melbourne on Sunday, May 15, the ‘Australian Defence League’ (ADL), under the leadership of Englishman Martin Brennan, is organising its second public rally against Muslims. The ADL is the Australian counterpart to the ‘English Defence League’, a famously drunken and frequently violent street gang which has brought chaos to many English towns and cities over the past two years, aimed at driving Muslims out of the country.

In response to the ADL’s provocation, a range of community groups and individuals will be attending a counter rally, a rally ‘against racism and fascism’ [Facebook].

Both the rally and the counter-rally will take place at midday at Federation Square.

Fight dem back! cordially invites its supporters to attend the counter-rally, and to join hundreds of other Melbournians in standing up to the ADL’s bigotry. As an added bonus, there will also be a celebration of Buddha’s birthday at Federation Square!

Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival incorporates the traditions of Buddhist ceremonies and celebrations including the “Bathing of the Buddha”, daily Dharma ceremonies, the Wishing Bell and traditional incense offerings, a vegetarian culinary tour of Asia alongside the Yarra on the River Terrace, cultural demonstrations and insights, music, art and craft and community service groups.

Plenty for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike!

The Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival promotes vesak in the spirit of cooperation, cultural diversity, community understanding and harmony.

You can find out more about the ADL and its previous, entirely unsuccessful attempt to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria at slackbastard; Andrew Crook of Crikey writes the following on the ADL rally:

British anti-Islamists to march on parliament
May 9, 2011

A far-right fringe group modelled on the violent English Defence League is gathering support for a rally at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Sunday to protest “Islamic extremists” and prevent Australia becoming “another Europe”.

The notorious Australian Defence League, which claims it is “time for action” to stop the spread of Sharia Law, will march from the square at noon to Parliament House and says it has received official Victoria Police approval for the event.

A missive spruiking for the rally was posted on the ADL’s online forums by British organiser Martin Brennan over the weekend. Brennan says he has been liaising with police over numbers and logistics.

“BRING YOUR BANNERS AND BRING YOUR FLAGS BE LOUD AND PROUD AND LET THE ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS KNOW WE AREN’T GONNA BE ANOTHER EUROPE. THIS IS AUSTRALIA AND NO ONE WILL TAKE THAT FROM US!!!!!,” Brennan writes.

Another commenter picks up the cudgels, stating he is preparing to “March Loud & Proud for our Nation”.

“No longer will Australians sit back and accept the Islamisation of Our Nation, nor will we accept Barbaric Sharia Law in our sensational country. We value life — Sharia Barbaric Law doesn’t — those that believe Sharia Law should be implemented into Australia, care very little for Australian People and the Australian Way of Life!!!”

The rally coincides with a Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival at the tourist mecca, sparking fears of an ugly confrontation in front of Garden State holiday makers.

A counter-protest “against racism and fascism” is also planned. Last April, the ADL’s first mobilisation attempt was successfully foiled by left-wing activists who drowned out a group of racist protesters offering up pitiful Nazi salutes. Overnight, the ADL’s Facebook page seems to have been successfully hacked by one opponent, who posted a picture of two Muslim women wearing Australian flag hijabs.

Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad slammed the rally as a “crack up” full of “bigots seeking to parade themselves so that we can all know who they are”.

“Reading their site, the only thing they have to motivate people to attend is fear-mongering. There are people in our midst who are still living in the dark ages and now they are holding a demonstration to prove it,” he said, noting that the organiser was British, not Australian.

The ADL’s notorious sister organisation, the English Defence League, has become a burgeoning presence in the United Kingdom, with group members clashing with Muslim protesters on Friday outside the US Embassy in London at a “funeral service” for Osama bin Laden.

Last year the Guardian described the EDL as “the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s”. Many of the group’s rallies were deliberately staged to stoke anger in Muslim communities and often descended into random acts of violence, it said.

A spokesperson for Victoria Police confirmed that the force had been liaising with the group over the protest.

“Police do not provide ‘approval’ for demonstrations and protests as such, however we liaise with organisers to ensure community safety is paramount and the event is resourced as appropriate. We strongly recommend anyone planning a demonstration or protest make contact with police in the lead up to the event.”

ADL-style Hate speech is specifically banned under the federal Racial Discrimination Act, which states that it is unlawful to “do an act” that would insult, humiliate, offend or intimidate another person or group in public on the basis of their race.

The spokesperson said that police resources will be put in place to deal with the events and that “we will be closely monitoring them for criminal activity of any sort”.

A spokesperson for premier Ted Baillieu did not respond to questions over the rally before deadline.

Fight dem back · 9 May 2011 · Discussion