How important is the right to protest in a democracy?
From as early as the 1840s, Melburnians took to the streets to express their views on a wide range of issues- from the right to vote to workers’ rights. In the 1970s, the moratorium movement influenced the Australian government to withdraw from the Vietnam conflict. Large rallies by First Nations people and their supporters helped bring about the abolition of discriminatory laws. More recently, rallies in support of climate action and protesting the continual harassment of women have demanded government action.
The right to protest is protected in Victoria under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act but, as the recent COVID emergency showed, it is never absolute.
The 'Protest Melbourne' exhibition explores past and present protest in an attempt to discover the significance of the right to protest.
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