Marriage Equality Protesters Take to the Streets

The National Day of Action for Marriage Equality saw an increased police presence at the WA event in comparison to previous protest marches. While audience numbers were considerably down, a significantly greater number of police were in attendance. Despite police orders to disrupt traffic, protestors stopped city traffic once again.

An estimated crowd of 200 people convened on Stirling Gardens to listen to speakers advocate for same sex marriage. Speakers included transgender advocates Jayne McFadyen and Robyn Edwards, Equal Love Convener Sam Cavallaro and Lynn MacLaren, MLC for The Greens.

Prior to the march around the city centre beginning, the police asked organisers to announce to the crowd that the march must remain on the footpath and not disrupt traffic.   It was an instruction that was largely ignored by the protesters.  As the march progressed down Barrack Street the police quickly closed off access to traffic. Protestors also altered the route of the parade walking down William Street and St George’s Terrace, causing a greater disruption to city centre traffic than originally intended.

During the march police were quick to address by-standers to who shouted anti-gay messages as the passing crowd, but overwhelmingly people on the street appeared to be supportive of the rally’s cause.

A spokesman for WA Police noted that while protests are legal, they need to be managed to ensure that Police are able to manage pedestrian and vehicle traffic appropriately and safely. At the conclusion of the march organisers were informed that would receive a summons for the surprise protest.

At previous marriage equality rallies in Perth protestors have caught police off guard, forcing them to scramble to guide the protesters through city streets. Last year protestors staged a sit-down on William Street that quickly brought city traffic to a stand still.

During the speeches McFadyen spoke about the difficulties faced by members of the community who are transgender, including the need to divorce existing spouses to gain a gender reassignment certificate. Edwards discussed the difficulty of proving a relationship to government departments when you’re a woman with a gender history and your partner is from overseas, while MacLaren spoke about the moves to introduce same sex marriage into the WA Parliament.

“The majority of Australian’s support equal marriage rights”, said Equal Love Convener Sam Cavalarro, “We are here to demand equal marriage rights, because they’re not just a fashion of the moment… they’re about equality and about people’s lives.”

Protesters were also given a satirical performance from comedian Helchild who appeared as ‘Baloney Abbott’ – a comical portrayal of the Prime Minister sporting red speedos, prominent ears and combat boots.

 

 

 

 

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