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More Than a Million Protest in Australia

“Somewhere in Texas a village has lost its idiot” Placard at Sydney rally 16-02-03

The most beautiful sight after the Sydney “No War” rally on Feb 16, 2003, attended by 250,000+ people, was a pregnant woman drying off after a swim down at Clovelly Beach in eastern Sydney. Clovelly Beach is a tranquil, rocky beach with a quiet sandy splashing area for kids, nestled between Coogee and Bronte beaches. The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude “wrapped” the nearby Little Bay in 1969. The name of the artwork is called “Wrapped Coast“. (see for images of this project and of this environment).

The woman seemed fully pregnant- she had a splendid round belly of ?8 + months. She was wearing a bikini top around her breasts and a long stretch skirt around her hips and legs. Her belly- so round and full, was open to the world, and at the base of her belly, where the baby’s head was probably positioned to come out, (unless it was breached, like my second son’s!), there was the image of a peace sign. With the sea behind her, and her hair wet, and that great belly full of beauty and hope, she seemed to sum up all the hopes and aspirations (and anxieties) of the people who have rallied around the world this weekend, against Bush and Blair’s war.

We had baklawa full bellies, from the baklawa shop in Lidcombe, and sticky hands, so we ran down to have a splash and a paddle in the sea, and to build tunnels and sand castles, as it rained after a drought stricken, long, hot, bush-firey summer.

Rally attendance in Australia, population 1.9 odd million:

Melbourne Feb 14: 200,000 (pop. 3mill)

Sydney Feb 16: 250,00- 300,000 (pop. 3 mill) Biggest march in Australia’s history.

Brisbane: 50,000 (pop 1 mill)

Adelaide:100,000 (pop 1mill)

Canberra: 16,000 (pop 300,000)

Perth: 10,000

Darwin- (in monsoonal weather)- 2,000

Various regional rallies around smaller towns. The Melbourne and Sydney rallies were the biggest since the Vietnam moratorium marches.

VANESSA JONES can be reached at: post4@bigpond.com