On a steaming hot Saturday, the side-show provocateur group staged a protest in the inner city suburb Darlinghurst, adding to their already long list of embarrassing and shameful publicity stunts. This weeks head-hanging escapade was to target Sydney’s LGBTQI+ community with a rally titled Straight Lives Matter, intended to offend and incite locals & the broader community. In the weeks leading up to the rally Folkes and his followers scurried around the Eastern Suburbs sticky taping queerphobic posters to poles in the hope they would gain more publicity. Unfortunately their material found itself in the wrong hands.
On the actual event itself, the day proved to be long and hot. Upon arrival, people who were suspected of attending our counter demonstration were interrogated by NSW Public Order and Riot Squad. Observers and others just passing by were harassed and even roughed up by aggressive coppers who couldn’t be fucked doing their job on the day. Over ten unprovoked move-along orders were issued to people coming into the rally and police refused re-entry to people who left our rally for toilet and water breaks. The whole rally, which proved uneventful, further highlights the ridiculous lengths NSW police will go to stifle dissent, especially against far right groups such as Party for Freedom. Police were so brazen as to illegally film and profile people attending our rally, taunt people and allow fascist photographers free movement to profile and film people from within the counter protest. Wow, it took you 100 cops to do that?
Police openly display their bias
All in all, the rally, like all PfF rallies, can be accurately summarised in one word. Waste. A waste of time, a waste of money, a waste of resources, a waste of energy, and in the case of the vast majority of their attendees, a waste of oxygen. Most importantly in their case a wasted opportunity to capitalise on the growing international far right sentiment. At least we can be grateful to Nick about something.
Those who gathered (and were allowed in) on our side numbered roughly between 50-100 throughout the day. Many of the local community who came throughout the two hours went to other larger pro SSM events taking place throughout the city. For Nick, numbers were low, however this is a reality he is used to. PfF’s cluster numbered less than 20; as they crammed around a poorly assembled and equally unnecessary stage to hear essentially everyone at their rally stand up and speak. Their speeches were drowned out by our protest, queer as fuck tunes and air horns, helping the pencil-necked flogs to stutter and stumble to the backdrop of our noise. Notably absent were the Nazi boneheads of Squadron 88 who most likely took the day off to avoid getting smashed by the local community.
Nick Folkes John Bolton George Jameson
Geoff Prior Kat Klayton Toby Cook
Penny Louise Damien Ferri Sukith Fernando
Pastor Keith Piper James Sternhill Greg Burt
Silvia Adam Timothy Kwoh Paul Exley
All in all we consider the event a success, deterring people to attend their event, strengthening ties to the queer community, outnumbering them 2 to 10 and drowning out their event. Dealing with the thuggery and bias of the NSW police force is always tough, but it comes with the gig. No thanks to them, Fascists were not allowed near the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Holocaust Memorial, their intended target of homophobic hate. Rather they were sent with their tails between their legs, cowering behind a large mobilisation of riot police. Better luck next time chums.
Shout out to Astro Labe!