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Planned demonstrations against World Congress of Families heats up

Planned demonstrations against World Congress of Families heats up

LAST UPDATED // Tuesday, 26 August 2014 10:39 Written by // James Findlay

The World Congress of Families will gain more unwanted attention this weekend, as a selection of pro-choice and anti-homophobic demonstrators plan a special ‘welcome’ for the Congress guests and participants.

Naomi Farmer, National Queer Officer for the National Union of Students and Demonstrator Organiser, told MCV they were expecting over 100 people to protest the event.

“They key thing we want to do is actually stop the event from happening, so we do intend on blockading the gates in the morning,” she said.

However, Farmer said finding out where the event had been moved to was proving difficult.

“We’re trying to find out where the bigots are going to be because the location keeps changing and they’re trying to hide it from us.”

Babette Francis, an organiser of the Congress, told MCV they had to change the venue of the event to find a more secure location and keep demonstrators at bay.

“We’ve got a couple of venues, but we are just trying to decide between them,” she said.

The Congress has been regularly slammed over the past few weeks in regards to the line up of guests they have coming to Melbourne, one of which, Dr Angela Lanfranchi, links breast cancer to abortion, and are strong advocates against same sex marriage.

Francis, who is also Convenor of the Endeavour Forum, which was founded to ‘counter feminism, defend the right to life of the unborn, and support marriage and the natural family’, also said the talk from Lanfranchi, linking abortion with breast cancer, “wasn’t meant to be a highlight.”

“That talk for some strange reason has caused controversy,” she said.

The attendance of Liberal MPs, including Kevin Andrews, Senators Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi, and Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, has caused upset in the community.

Convener of Equal Love, Ali Hogg, told MCV:

“It's nothing short of an outrage that we will see elected politicians such as Kevin Andrews speaking at this event of bigots and associate themselves with those who support Putin's anti homosexuality laws and believe there are links between breast cancer and abortion.

“We called the protest because when the Congress of Families event was announced we got an overwhelming flow of requests to call something to take a stand against it.

Hogg said she believes it's important that people take a stand against such bigotry.

“We see discrimination far too often and when it's backed up by such big names as Kevin Andrews it sends such a bad message to young people. To challenge these ideas is significant to people and can give them confidence to stand up against discrimination and bigotry wherever it raises it's head.”

Details on the protest can be found at the Equal Love Facebook page.


James Findlay

James Findlay

James Findlay is a Melbourne-based journalist and broadcaster who has worked in community media for many years. He has won awards for his work on The Naughty Rude Show on SYN, and can be heard on JOY 94.9's breakfast program, Triple Threat, and Hide and Seek - exploring sex, sexuality and self. He is currently completing his Master of Public Health specialising in Sexual Health at Melbourne University, and a tutor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.

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