By Situation Theatre 28/07/2015
Inspired by the marches to Montgomery featured in the recent film Selma, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the Refugee Action Coalition and their affiliates have pulled off the longest protest march in Australian history. It’s yet another case of social justice campaigners tirelessly defending the rights of innocent people against the wilful abuses of those in power.
The 285km march over two weeks has built extraordinary pressure on the Abbott government to overturn Operation Sovereign Murders.
The event has received saturation coverage from the nation’s media. Headlines have ranged from ‘Heroes Fight For Refugee Justice’ in The Guardian to ‘Jobless Fools Sabotage Economic Growth By Walking’ in The Australian, to ‘ISIS Attack Aussies On Foot” in The Daily Telegraph.
Whether advocates for refugees or ISIS loving perambulists, it’s nonetheless an astonishing example of powerful campaigning which learns from the grassroots struggles of the past.
On March 21 1965, 2000 people left Selma and by the time they reached Montgomery four days later, their numbers had swelled to 25,000. Similarly, the ranks of the 10,000 marchers who left Sydney two weeks ago grew to 125,000 by the time they reached Parliament House. Mathematicians say this makes it five times more likely that politicians will end mandatory detention than they were to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Selma fans hope the march will inspire John Legend to write a version of 'Glory' to represent the refugee movement.