by Finbar O’Mallon | @finbaromallon
Approximately 400 – 500 picketed the front entrance of the National Gallery of Victoria on Friday evening in response to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments on Indigenous communities being a “lifestyle choice”.
The protestors chose the NGV believing Abbott would be attending an event inside, with police forming a line across the entrance.
Posters across the RMIT City Campus advertised a National Union of Students sponsored protest, organised by Victorian State Education Officer Declan Murphy, but instead this protest was cancelled on Facebook and focussed on national Indigenous issues.
When asked why student issues were not raised in favour of the Indigenous protest, Murphy said, “I believe [it’s] something students should stand against”.
Various speakers, including one who said “Achtung!” and made the Nazi salute to arriving attendees, spoke on severe ongoing issues affecting Indigenous Australians, including those living in remote communities.
Protestors marched from outside the NGV and across Princes Bridge before staging a minute silence and sit in at the Flinders Street Station intersection.