Melbourne vigil joins global day of solidarity for Bradley Manning

As part of the March 19-20th Global Day of Action in solidarity with Bradley Manning a small group of protestors gathered outside the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne. Similar vigils and protests occurred around the world with the primary rally occurring outside the brig in Quantico where Manning is being held in the U.S. Protestors expressed that if Bradley Manning is “guilty” of giving information to Wikileaks he is a hero not a criminal for revealing war crimes. The hypocrisy of the U.S. bombing Libya to support democracy whilst it tortures Bradley Manning was also pointed out. One participant highlighted that the 3 absolute human rights are: freedom from capital punishment, from slavery and from torture and that the U.S. was breaking two of these fundamental rights in regards to Bradley Manning as his current treatment is tantamount to torture and he is facing the death penalty. The small vigil was watched over by four members of the AFP and two Victorian police.
Related: Courage to resist call to action -- Coverage of events around the world

Sydney Solidarity Gathering
On the same day in Sydney protesters gathered in Sydney outside the U.S. Consulate. See footage on Youtube on the links below:

Local activist Christine speaking about Daniel Ellesberg's arrest

Paul Benedek, activist with Socialist Alliance speaking in Sydney

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge addresses the first Sydney rally in support of Bradley Manning

Arrests outside Quantico Base in Virginia where Bradley is being held
More than 30 people have been arrested outside the US marine base where Bradley Manning is being detained. Hundreds of people joined a rally outside Quantico, chanting "Free Bradley Manning" and holding banners that read "Caution: Whistleblower Torture Zone". Scuffles broke out when riot police tried to move demonstrators away from an intersection at the base entrance. One of the 35 people arrested was Daniel Ellsberg, a Manning supporter who leaked the so-called Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. The 79-year-old gave a speech at the rally and was quoted as saying: "I want Bradley Manning's courage to be contagious."
Read more here

Background info
Read Bradley Manning's recent letter from his cell in Quantico regarding his treatment and conditions



I do not live in Melbourne but am quite startled at the poor response to the vigil for Bradley Manning. Was it cold - raining - something else on - or isG there a sense of apathy in that beautiful city.

The vigil was only called about five days ago and really only publisized on the Indymedia calendar. However I think this is one of the those occasions where numbers are not that important. What is important that Melbourne counts as one of the places around the world that took part in the Global Solidarity actions. A lot of small actions sometimes is as powerful as a couple of centralised large events.

Also - despite the small numbers, it felt good to be at the U.S. embassy. So many peace rallies in Melbourne walk around the CBD and ignore the source of the problem - the U.S. embassy - which is home of the empire that directs Australian foreign policy.

Hopefully next time there is a global call out we get ourselves a bit better organised in Melbourne and build on today's vigil. Whilst thousands have marched in Australia in support of Julian Assange and Wikileaks - as a movement we shouldn't allow Bradley Manning to be forgotten.