After that I had to go to work.
The protest was largely ineffective. Most people couldn't hear what was going on, the signs were tiny and a lot of it was conducted in punjabi. This alienated a lot of the english-speaking australians on the scene, who angrily complained to police that they wanted to drive through.
It took me a bit of time and questioning before I found out that there were a number of indian students who had been robbed, gang bashed, stabbed and hosptialised in the last few weeks by racist gangs.
After I left, the protest continued overnight, and then erupted into violence in the morning, with police dispersing the crowd and detaining 18 people.
This quote from the ABC's 7.30 report
The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was forced today to publicly reassure the Indian Government that Australia is not a racist country after a rally of 3,000 Indian students in Melbourne's CBD. The latest victim of the run of attacks is fighting for his life in a Melbourne hospital.
While police and Indian community leaders have appealed for calm, India's high commissioner says the students have been provoked out of desperation.
Heather Ewart reports from Melbourne.
HEATHER EWART, REPORTER: When hundreds of Indian students rallied in Melbourne's CBD yesterday, it was supposed to have been a peaceful protest. The aim was to highlight the latest attack on one of their own, an Indian student fighting for his life after being stabbed with a screwdriver by intruders at a birthday party in his own home a few weeks back.
SRINIVAS VEDANTAM, STUDENT: When they entered the party and they started abusing - using the racial abuses, like "You black Indians," like that stuff. So it ended up with a racial attack.
HEATHER EWART: Are you now frightened to go back to your house to live?
SRINIVAS VEDANTAM: Yeah. Like, this is because the next day itself, our house was totally robbed.
video of the bashings