September 30, 2013
Police Reporter at The Age
Enough is enough: Thousands of protesters march along Sydney Road Photo: Angela Wylie
The thousands of people who marched through Brunswick on Sunday in memory of Jill Meagher had one thing in common – they were there to say ”no” to violence.
Couples strolled hand in hand while parents pushed prams and carried toddlers on their shoulders; young girls in jogging gear marched purposefully in groups, and dogs of all sizes panted as their owners walked beside them at a leisurely pace.
Yet despite the thousands who gathered at the corner of Sydney and Moreland roads at noon to march in memory of Ms Meagher, the atmosphere was grim.
A marcher holds an image of Jill Meagher. Photo: Angela Wylie
Lois Knight and Keir Delaney, who live on Hope Street, where Adrian Bayley raped and killed Ms Meagher, said it was a chance for people to reclaim the night and to support Ms Meagher’s family.
Ms Knight said she was ”defiant about the idea of being scared in my own neighbourhood”.
”I don’t think Brunswick is more dangerous than any other area. I think it was an extremely unlucky and terrible thing to have happened to Jill, rather than a reflection of this area,” she said.
Phil Werner, the event’s organiser, said he co-ordinated last year’s peace march to unite people in their humanity, and to bypass the anger and hatred that followed Ms Meagher’s murder.
However, it was clear that Melburnians had not forgotten, or forgiven, Bayley and those who commit violence against women.
Michael Turner, a local resident, said he was marching to say ”don’t judge men by the standards of Adrian Bayley”.
Glenda Esse and her daughter, Kym Stanley, led the march while carrying photographs of Ms Meagher. Both were pessimistic on the issue of violence against women. ”I don’t think it will change. We’re not hard enough with our criminals – we look after them more than the victims,” Ms Stanley said. ”We need to bring in harsher sentences – no parole, and life should be until you’re dead.”
A man and woman marching beside the pair stared ahead in grim silence, carrying signs which said: ”Respect women, castrate repeat rapists”; ”Enough is enough, parole and court toughen up”; and ”May you rot in there”. The march ended with participants observing a minute’s silence for Ms Meagher at Princes Park.