Thousands of Victorians protest against federal budget
Thousands of protesters have blocked traffic outside Victoria’s Trades Hall in protest at harsh federal budget measures.
The crowd, which includes a large number of construction workers and unionists, blocked Lygon and Russell streets before marching to parliament on Thursday morning.
Protesters are chanting “they say cut back, we say fight back” in response to federal budget cuts.
Speakers at the rally will include Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Victorian secretary Steve Dargavel.
Rally organisers said the column of protesters that arrived at Spring Street, outside parliament house, stretched as far as Bourke Street, more than one kilometre away.
#bustthebudget swarms into Swanston St. “We’re here, we’re loud, we’re union and we’re proud.” @theheraldsun pic.twitter佛山桑拿网,/gPJQrcS9BB
— Tom Minear (@tminear) June 12, 2014
Marching has started. We’ve reached the state library on the way to parliament. #bustthebudget. #ausunions pic.twitter佛山桑拿网,/omKliLGCop
— This Working Life (@thisworkinglife) June 12, 2014
Marchers moving behind banner, look set to proceed down Russell St #bustthebudget pic.twitter佛山桑拿网,/dG7oJq63Es
— Catalyst Magazine (@rmitcatalyst) June 12, 2014
#bustthebudget @NTEUNational and still more coming pic.twitter佛山桑拿网,/ClUcaJxTRm
— NTEU Victoria (@NTEUVictoria) June 12, 2014
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union national secretary Michael O’Connor said the federal coalition government was attacking jobs.
“We have never before seen a government try to destroy the jobs of Australians like this government has,” he told the crowd.
“They are trying to change our commitment to a fair go, our commitment to justice, our democratic right to organise. They think they are going to get away with it. We say they ain’t.”
United Voice Victorian secretary Jess Walsh said workers were angry.
“We’re angry at a government that wants to make us work harder and work longer for less money and we are here today because we deserve better, and we are here on the streets with you today because we are ready to fight,” she said.