Anti-gay marriage protesters in Australia held a Straight Lives Matter protest on Saturday (September 23) – but almost no one turned up.
Organised by the far-right Party for Freedom, the demonstration was held in Darlinghurst, just metres from the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial.
Around 33 (clearly terrible) people said they were attending the event on the group’s Facebook page. However, New South Wales Police claimed that less than 15 actually turned up for the demonstration.
Nick Folkes, the head of Party for Freedom, claimed that 30 people had attended the event, but admitted the number was “disappointing” before complaining that the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign has many more supporters.
He said: “It was disappointing to see we weren’t well supported on the day. The pro-marriage supporters can get thousands on the street and we can barely get any. We’re the silent majority which is a real shame.”
According to News.com, Folkes claimed that the numbers dispute came down to cameras being at the front of the stage: “There was definitely 30. People didn’t stand there because we’d block the cameras.”
He also claimed that the ‘Vote No’ supporters were worried about violence from the equal marriage supporters because they’re more “vocal.”
“We don’t have a history of our side of politics being very vocal. The left wing are very vocal. There’s a big fear of violence among our supporters which I think is why we were so poorly supported today.”
The ‘Straight Lives Matter’ rally or ‘a couple of people in a park.’ You be the judge. pic.twitter.com/D8A0eQVDrS
— Kirsty Webeck 🏳️🌈 (@KirstyWebeck) September 23, 2017
He adds: “We were definitely worried about left wing people attacking us. People didn’t turn up because of possible violence… There has been violence coming from the no side but overall the intimidation, name calling, violence – it has all come from the yes camp.”
In response to the demonstration, more than 50 ‘Vote Yes’ supporters stood at the opposite side of Sydney’s Green Park, chanting in protest and using horns to drown out the speeches.
Folkes initially wanted to hold the demonstration on Oxford Street, Sydney’s gay centre, but held it in the park close to an LGBT memorial after being “threatened” by the City of Sydney council.
Australia’s controversial poll has already divided the country’s national rugby team, as well as the country a whole. Many prominent Aussie stars such as Liam and older brother Chris Hemsworth as well as Kylie and Danni Minogue have come out in support of the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign.
However, Australian tennis legend Margaret Court has expressed her opposition to LGBT+ equality, even going so far as to argue that same-sex marriage could lead to the end of Christmas in Australia.
The result of Australia’s poll, which will see registered voters aged 18 and over answer the question ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’, is set to be announced on November 15.