Aboriginal, Palestinian, Iraqi and Mapuche flags mingled at a rally yesterday for International Human Rights Day.
The protest, organised by Fighting In Resistance Equally (FIRE), brought together a number of disparate human rights campaigns, highlighting the common struggles of Indigenous peoples globally.
“Most First Nations people are suffering, including the Aboriginal peoples of this land,” speaker Faith Black told the crowd.
Protestors chanted, variously: “Free Palestine”, “Sovereignty Never Ceded” and “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” (“The people united will never be defeated”).
Abeer Hasaan Al Abani, an Iraqi freelance journalist, called on international support for Iraqi protests against government corruption and an end to political parties that had dominated the government since the 2003 American invasion.
Valentina Olivares, a Chilean student at Sydney University, condemned recently reported police violence against protestors in Chile.
“[President] Piñera must go to gaol. There will be no peace while there is injustice.”
“The Mapuche [Chilean First Nations] have been victims of political repression under 30 years of fake democracy,” Olivares told the crowd to cries of “assassino!”.
The protest included a large contingent of Chilean Women for Human Rights, wearing red hand prints across their faces. Protestors told Honi that the handprints represented the epidemic of missing indigenous women globally. A recent report by the ABC shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are overrepresented in missing persons report throughout Australia.
Speakers linked Indigenous struggles with broader struggles for human rights and climate action. “Weapons of oppression are tried and tested on First Nations peoples first and worst, before they turn them on the rest of us,” Harry Bonifacio, a member of the Anti-Colonial Asian Alliance and FIRE, argued.
“David Dungay was choked to death, Wayne Fella Morrison was choked to death, and the same thing is happening to Sydney. We’re being choked to death,” socialist Gumbaynggirr activist, Gavin Walker said.
The protest closed off to a performance of “Un Violador En Tu Camino” (“A Rapist in Your Path”). The song, originating from a Valparaiso women’s collective, has become a viral feminist anthem for protestors globally.
Human Rights Day celebrates the 71st anniversary of the passage of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.