(wlcentral.org) The mood on the day was convivial, despite the heavy police presence and the memory of the December 14th’s rally looming large, which saw some clashes between protesters and police as a result of the NSW police’s refusal to issue a demonstration permit.
The thousand-strong crowd began their march from Town Hall, stopping by the headquarters of the U.S Consulate General at the MLC Centre for some civilized but impassioned shouting, before descending upon Hyde Park.
Speakers at the event included David Shoebridge, the NSW Greens MP; Wendy Bacon, Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism; Marcus Strom, reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald and member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance; and Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist.
Unfortunately I didn’t take notes of the speeches as I was too busy taking pictures, but some of my recollections are as follows:
Bacon spoke of the need to place increased and continual emphasis on the contents of the cable leaks. Although the legal quandaries of Assange and Manning are of serious and global importance, she said , we should not let our focus slip from the scrutiny of those in power that Cablgegate allow us.
Antony Loewenstein pointed out that the hounding and prosecution of whistleblowers in the United States and Australia has increased exponentially during the Obama and Rudd administrations. Loewenstein also remarked on the hostile reaction to Wikileaks from traditional media quarters, noting that many in established media roles see themselves as ‘players’ and merely cosy up to power when they could be preventing unjust wars from gaining support instead.
The next rally is scheduled for 1pm Sunday February 6th, at Town Hall.
Please see our Global Rallies page for upcoming event details.