Summary

Sign used to advertise the Rally for Justice held between 10-11am on 8 June 2009 in Federation Square, Melbourne.

The rally was organised by the Socialist Alliance in support of the Federation of Indian Student Associations (FISA). During late May and early June 2010 Indian students protested against violent and racial attacks against people of Indian origin living in Australia, coupled with an inadequate response received from the government and police on the matter. In particular, on 31 May 2009, a crowd of about 2000 Indian students and supporters protested in front of Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. Police detained 18 of these protestors for breach of peace. The Socialist Alliance condemned this police action as a violation of the right to protest peacefully. The Rally for Justice, where this sign was used, was organised by the Socialist Alliance a week after this protest to demonstrate that Australians should not tolerate any form of racism and that international students and migrants should be made to feel welcome whilst living in Melbourne.

Physical Description

Cardboard sign with A3 sized white paper taped to both sides.

Significance

This sign has historical significance as a representation of early 21st century racial politics in Victoria. It helps to highlight advocacy for social justice, equality and diversity in response to racial tensions in the state. In particular, this sign was used in the 8 June 2009 Rally for Justice in Melbourne, which was organised by the Socialist Alliance in support of the Federation of Indian Student Associations (FISA). This rally was a reaction to a number of issues: approximately 70 people of Indian origin had been violently attacked in Australia over the past year; Australian universities and governments were accused of charging high international student fees without offering on-par support to these students in the areas of safety, housing and health; and police called Indian victims "soft targets" and detained several Indian protestors during the 31 May 2009 rally. These issues escalated to an international level with the Indian Prime Minister and the Australian High Commissioner to India supporting Indian students in Australia, news of these assaults being covered by newspapers and blogs in India and Hindu extremists burning effigies of the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in Mumbai. In response to these violent attacks, Rudd stated that Australia was not a racist nation and that student attacks could impair strong Australian-Indian relations.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Migration & Cultural Diversity

  • Acquisition Information

    Collected from Karen Schamberger, 08/06/2010

  • Place & Date of Event

    Federation Square, Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8 Jun 2009

  • Inscriptions

    Text: Support Indian Students/Stop/Racist/Attacks.

  • Classification

    Politics & public protest, Anti-racism, Promotional materials

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    History

  • Type of item

    Object

  • Overall Dimensions

    305 mm (Width), 434 mm (Height)

  • References

    Bolton, Sue (1 June 2009) "Community Must Join Indian Students' Rallies" in the Social Alliance website [Link 1] Accessed 25 October 2010. Millar, Paul & Doherty, Ben (1 June 2009) "Indian anger boils over" in The Age, [Link 2] Accessed 25 October 2010. ABC/APP (31 May 2009) "Thousands protest against Indian student attacks" in ABC News [Link 3] Accessed 25 October 2010. Roberts, Brenda /APP (1 June 2010) "18 arrests amid Indian protest over Melbourne race violence" in the Herald Sun [Link 4] Accessed 25 October 2010. Unknown aunthor (1 June 2009) "Editorial Comment - Check it Mate" in the Times of India. [Link 5] Accessed 25 October 2010. Hodge, Amanda (2 June 2009) "Hindu extremists burn Kevin Rudd effigies" in The Australian. [Link 6] Accessed 25 October 2010.

  • Keywords

    International Students, Protests, Race Relations