Thousands expected at anti-Islamic State protest march through the streets of Melbourne

Protesters in Sydney try to raise awareness of persecution of Assyrian Christians at the hands of Islamic State fighters. Picture: John Appleyard
ORGANISERS of an anti-Islamic State protest through the streets of Melbourne tomorrow say they expect thousands to attend.

The protest is backed by firebrand Coalition MP Bernie Finn, who will address the rally.

The protesters are demanding world leaders stand up to the Islamic State and are calling for the Federal Government to assist those being persecuted by the terror group.

The march is the culmination of a grassroots campaign that has included members of the Assyrian and Coptic communities.

The organisers want moderate Muslims to join them in the march, but last night the Islamic Council of Victoria did not respond to inquiries as to whether it would support the protest action or encourage its members to attend.

Last month ICV, which represents 150,000 Muslims, controversially boycotted a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss proposed anti-terrorism laws.

Liberal Upper House MP Bernie Finn told the Herald Sun he would be speaking at the rally amid his fears of a homegrown terrorist attack.

“Jihad affects us all,” Mr Finn said. “There are some in Australia that support Jihad, we know that for a fact.

“We’ve got to make it to clear to government and to those people that they do not have the support of the Australian community.”

Upper House Bernie Finn will address the Melbourne protest.

Upper House Bernie Finn will address the Melbourne protest.

Organisers are expecting a turnout in the thousands after a similar rally in Sydney last month attracted more than 6000 protesters.

The rally will commence in Federation Square at 3pm, with protesters marching to Parliament House.

Mr Finn has encouraged members of the Muslim community to attend as a show of solidarity and strength.

“I really hope on Saturday there will be a significant number of members of the Islamic community to show support for what we’re trying to do,” he said.

“ISIS doesn’t just kill Christians and Jews, they kill more Muslims than anybody else.

“We’ve had extremist Islamic attacks in the United States, in Britain, in Europe, Asia. Does anybody seriously suggest its not going to happen here?

“ISIS is something that potentially impacts us all. If a bomb goes off outside Flinders St in peak hour it’s not selective on who it kills — there’s nothing surer that if these people get their way that will happen.

“These people are saying ‘Kill the infidels’ And guess what? We’re the infidels.”