AmiexExchange 15: 25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

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25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

I thought that for once, I do a post that's not too #throwback. This is fresh off the camera! I saved a date on my phone's calendar today, and named it "Student Protest". Well, I wasn't sure what they were protesting about, but I thought I would go and check it out to see what it's like. I've never seen an organic, ground-up protest by a predominantly young crowd before, so something to be taken off the bucket list. It's really quite an eye-opening experience. Here are some pictures and I will caption some of it as we go along... (videos included)!


25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
They gathered at the State Library. The official timing of the protests was at 2pm, but because I was still busy slurping up the remnants of my ramen somewhere in the city... I only reached fifteen minutes later. They were finishing up speeches in the field before the library, all the participants raring to go. Most of them are in clusters of different student societies of the various universities in Melbourne. The student politics is very active and vocal in Melbourne, especially in University of Melbourne where I'm doing a study exchange now. There is a Left Wing Socialist Club that raises awareness about the policies pushed by the Abbott government and how it affects different groups of people in the society negatively. They paste a lot of flyers around the university and it's impossible to miss their presence. I think it's healthy and encouraging to see university students participate in shaping politics as much of the policies affect their future. They also spend a greater deal of time in school to learn about policy-making and institutional discrimination to make more informed arguments.

25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

In a nutshell: they are protesting against (1) Abbott's government's plans to slash education spending, and (2) the university fees deregulation bill. If the bill were to be passed, universities will then have the ability to set their own prices on the courses which will inevitably lead to increased education fees. 

25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

They have very catchy cheers (they rhyme) to catch your attention. One of my favourites is, "Bullshit, come off it, our education is not for profit." They are not afraid to use profanities on politicians on the streets; that is their norm, I'm just being a political prude. One of the leaders even knew beatboxing and started to drop vocal beats to rev up the crowd to add a form of music to the cheers. Even their protests have so much artistic character... it's truly the cultural capital of Australia.

25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

They stopped trams and traffic for a while by storming the streets too. Melbourne is a very laidback city, nobody really complains about such things nor find that it compromises productivity because they know it's important to get the message across. I overheard one middle-aged lady remarked, 


"This is good. This is true freedom of speech." 

Based on her accent, I can only deduce that she's Australian.

25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

In a protest, it's important not to just look at the participants shouting the cheers and messages, but also the people surrounding the protesters. There were several people like me, brandishing their DSLRs, point and shoot cameras and phones to video or photograph the process. The leaders also shouted to broadcast this event on social media as much as we can. In this day and age, social media is a force to be reckon with in the political arena, it's no longer news. It's mandatory to create an online presence before you'll make a true impact.

25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne
25 March 2015 Student Protests in Melbourne

In Melbourne, the police officers ride horses to patrol the area. Besides the few police officers in the front of the commotion, one highway patrol car trailed behind as well to ensure safety for all. Here are some videos of the situation:


I don't know how to edit videos (okay I admit I'm lazy to learn) so this is the most raw form of the video which I uploaded straight onto Youtube. This is a scene where the students just began leaving State Library and forming a giant snake of a crowd.


I regret not taking a video of the guy beatboxing. It was really quite cool. Initially I thought they were playing a song but it was only moments later I realized it was LIVE! It is the same guy who started shouting "When education is under attack what do we do? Stand up fight back!" at around 0:10.


This is the last video which I took. Some news team was covering the protest as well. This should be the clearest video I have of the entire procession. They paused at the junction of the traffic lights but the cars were already stopping for them to pass. As you can see, the demographics of the protestors are all very young and a good mix of men and women. And yes, facial hair is a big thing in Melbourne ;)


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I share interesting episodes in life revolving around food, lifestyle, travel and inspirational ideas. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on my Instagram on @spherepiece and Facebook page! 

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