Social media gathers 35,000 in powerful Melbourne protest

The Parliament steps are crowded with thousands of protestors.
Protestors calmly make space for more on the steps as thousand of people continue to swarm along the roads. Picture: Tulsi Morton

Melbourne’s CBD was jammed for two hours on March 16th when 35,000 people marched through the city chanting and waving placards to show their vote of no confidence in the current government.

The event, called March in March, was created by a small volunteer organisation whose Facebook page went viral, inciting 130,000 people across Australia to march peacefully in hope of a better government.

The diverse group of protesters each had their own reason for being there, but were united by a common displeasure with the Liberals.

Click here to see first-hand footage of the Melbourne march

March in March coordinator for Melbourne Andrea Gorman says the idea is to open conversation about the topics not talked about.

“Why are we not talking about politics, the thing that rules our lives, that makes laws for us?

“We’re all very good at being couch activists, but if we can get people on the street, we’ll have a really big impact.”

University student Lindsey Diacogiannis, 25, attended the Melbourne march after hearing about it on Facebook and liking their page.

“I didn’t know what to expect at the march, but when I got there the streets were just full of people.

“It’s amazing that there weren’t any TV ads for it, all of those people found out about it from Facebook.”

Swanston St is packed with protestors as far as the eye can see.
Swanston St is packed with protestors as far as the eye can see. Picture: Tulsi Morton

The new Facebook page, renamed March Australia, already has 52,800 likes and is planning the next march for August 30th and 31st.

“It’s going to be a bit more structured next time,” Ms Gorman said.

“We were only planning for 20,000 people so when 40,000 showed up we were just in shock, thinking how much we had under organised.”

Another change she’s hoping for is less negative portrayal by the media, which focused on the few offensive placards at the march and dramatically reduced the amount of people protesting.

MIM2
This man shows his unhappiness with the government with a humorous placard. Picture: Tulsi Morton

“The media were saying that there were 12,000 people at the Melbourne March.

“I don’t know what numbers they are getting but we think it was somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 in Melbourne alone, so that’s a fair discrepancy.

“They’re not trying to get anything balanced.”

When asked about his opinion of March in March at a conference, Tony Abbott denied knowing of the event.

“My understanding is that the only big rally in Sydney is the St Patrick’s Day parade,” Mr Abbott said.

Local south-east Melbourne Liberal Party members David Southwick, Kelly O’Dwyer and Clem Newton-Brown refused to comment when questioned.

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