With Trump’s new ban on Muslims, the rally in support of refugees on Sunday 5 February in Sydney had extra significance. Hyde Park became the focal point where even the weather stayed dry and inviting.
There were many speakers who got the crowd chanting appropriately: Rita Mallia, State President CFMEU NSW voiced her feelings of where society was going and where they should be headed. Dulce Munoz, a Mexican migrant representing Mums for Refugees, made clear points about the Trump situation and how we as a nation need to voice our disapproval.
Then it was Ian Rintoul’s turn. Being the head of the Refugee Action Coalition, he knew full well the meaning of this large turnout. “Refugees are welcome here” was his chant for the day and the masses joined in. Ian pointed out the disappointment of action by our politicians and encouraged everyone to contact their local MP’s as soon as possible.
The huge crowd then marched to the American consulate voicing their affirmations all the way. Streets were closed off and by-standers took many photographs of the crowd and various banners going by.
The ‘Jews for Refugees’ banner was a popular photographic target as the Jewish community also expressed their disdain at the current situation. One of the leading Jewish protesters, Philip Feinstein, made it clear when he said “We all need to express our sentiment that refugees are welcome here. After all, we came from a refugee background in the 1940’s and were made welcome . . . “
After a few impromptu speeches outside the American consulate, the crowd dispersed satisfied that they had made their point.
But now for the big rally: On Sunday 9 April at 2pm in Hyde Park will be Palm Sunday Rally. This will be the march for Justice, Peace and Unity. And of course to show solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers.