Protect Victoria which started as a Facebook group but has now grown to a fully fledged community activist group had its first public event today on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament. It is an organization whose aim it is to convince the state government to change the laws to better protect Victorians from crime and for the judicial system to come down harder on criminals.
The issue of out of control crime in Victoria has been a national political topic after a summer of high profile crimes in Melbourne carried out by youths described as being of African in appearance. Added to this has been the soft sentences and continued granting of bail to African youths who have been arrested and charged with violent offences by Victoria’s judiciary.
The leftist media and the state government despite all this have continued to be in denial about the crime crisis in the state and that the recent surge is largely due to Sudanese youth gangs. Those raising concerns have been labelled as racist and ill informed.
Protect Victoria’s Facebook group now has over 34,000 members where members share news and videos from crime incidents around the state. However today’s rally was only attended by 100 people which the organiser of the event and founder of Protect Victoria Hayden Bradford did concede was disappointing.
It was peaceful with left-wing disrupters who have become infamous for disrupting public rallies in Melbourne choosing to stay away. It is likely that the potential for the left to attend did deter some supporters who feared a confrontation. There were a few bypassers shouting abuse.
The rally started with Hayden Bradford outlining the problem the state is currently facing and some of the current insanity in the criminal justice system from the state government, police leadership, correctional facilities and the judiciary. He also wanted to highlight Protect Victoria was not racist organisation and was only focused on law and order.
One representative from Victoria’s Parliament made an appearance Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins MLC from the Australian Conservatives outlining what her party’s approach to crime would be at the upcoming state election and her experience in dealing with issue and the state government as a legislator.
Popular Facebook personality and anti-crime campaigner Avi Yemini also spoke who had previously held his own rally Make Victoria Safe Again last Septemeber. Avi spoke about the importance of safer communities on societal morale and pride.
Then Hayden Bradford finished off the rally by talking about Protect Victoria’s proposed solutions (which he had also outlined in his appearance on the Unshackled Waves) such as abolishing plea bargaining and ending youth detention for those over 18. He also engaged in a name and shame of the state’s political leaders with a particular focus on Premier Daniel Andrews and Attorney-General Martin Pakula.
The Unshackled was the only media organisation which stayed for the duration of the rally. Channel Seven was present at the beginning but when it became clear the rally was going to be peaceful they got bored and left.
Other groups who attended the event were the Soldiers of Odin, a Melbourne based street patrol and community group and My Tarneit another grassroots anti-crime group from one of the suburbs that has been most affected by African gang violence. My Tarneit were collecting signatures for their own petition.
Although attendance was underwhelming at their first event Protect Victoria do plan to take their message to other vestiges of state power. They plan a demonstration outside the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court and outside Daniel Andrews Mulgrave electorate office, a seat he holds by only 4.5%.
After the rally we caught up with Hayden Bradford and Avi Yemini for a breif chat to reflect on the rally and also what their plans are for 2018.
Protect Victoria certainly has their work cut out for them as Labor refuses to meet with them and the Liberal Opposition have given them a lukewarm reception. But with 2018 a state election year and with its street presence now established it can certainly make an impact with major parties when polling day draws closer.
Crimes will continue to occur, more victims will begin to pile up, the issue is not going away. No doubt Protect Victoria’s recognition and popularity will continue to grow. But turning Facebook members into people on the ground is the next big step.