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March 4 protest through CBD attracts thousands

Wednesday, 4 March, 2015

This morning, thousands of people marched through Melbourne’s CBD as part of the nationwide March 4 protests. The protests were held in order to express general displeasure with measures introduced by the Federal Government, in particular those involving workers’ rights, tertiary education, healthcare, and public and community services.

The march commenced at the Victorian Trades Hall, made its way down Swanston St, and ended at the Flinders St crossroad. Parts of Victoria St, Swanston St, and Flinders St were closed and trams along the streets were disrupted due to the protest. Police patrolled the perimeters and created a barrier at the end of the march between Federation Square and Flinders Street Station.

Most of the protesters present were associated with unions such as the National Union of Workers (NUW), National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), Electrical Trade Union (ETU), Health and Community Services Union (HACSU), and Health Workers Union (HWU).

During and after the march, protesters repeatedly recited the words “stand up, fight back” in response to questions put to them by chant leaders.

Various union representatives, including one from the National Tertiary Education Union, spoke at the end of the march. A spokesman from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) thanked construction workers in particular, saying some were threatened with fines of up to $10,200 if they attended without their employer’s permission.