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Darwin Sex Workers March In May Day 2006

The banner featured prominently throughout the march!

What Is May Day? By Lian

The international working class holiday; Mayday, originated in pagan Europe. It was a festive holy day celebrating the first spring planting. The ancient Celts and Saxons celebrated May 1st as Beltane or the day of fire. Bel was the Celtic god of the sun. May Day is recognised as the International Workers’ holiday, chosen over 100 years ago to commemorate the struggles and gains of workers and the labour movement. May 1st is also a significant date in the struggle for the eight-hour workday. May Day is important not only for its historical significance, but also as a time to: organise and speak out around issues that are impacting working people today.

We marched to let all know that we are proud to fight for our rights Our modern celebration of Mayday as a workers holiday evolved from the struggle for the eight hour day in 1886. May 1, 1886 saw national strikes in the United States, Australia, UK and Canada for an eight hour day. In Chicago police attacked striking workers killing six.

The next day at a demonstration in Haymarket Square to protest the police brutality a bomb exploded in the middle of a crowd of police killing eight of them. The police arrested eight anarchist trade unionists claiming they threw the bombs. To this day the subject is still one of controversy. The question remains whether the bomb was thrown by the workers at the police or whether one of the police's own agent provocateurs dropped it in their haste to retreat from charging workers.

Nevertheless, despite a gaping lack of evidence to connect them to the crime, all eight were found guilty. George Engel, Augustus Fischer, Albert Parsons, and August Spies were hanged on November 11, 1887. Louis Lingg committed suicide in prison. The other three were finally pardoned by the governor in 1893. Like Joe Hill, Frank Little, and Sacco and Vanzetti, these men were murdered for their political views and for “daring to take a stand against injustice."

Check out the pants!

May Day 1st, 2006 - HO DOWN

Sex workers, representatives and friends marched for our recognition of working rights in Darwin. The marching space allocated to us under the N.T Trade Unions was side by side with other Unions. We were recognised as a legitimate body of workers who also wanted to make a stand. Envelopes (inside—condoms, instructions, lube) with a message posted as a mock address on the front were given to the crowd who gathered to watch the march..

We marched as unionists without the banner of a union, we had fun, we were supported and welcomed, we were also told that when PANTHER was around (pre: SWOP sex worker rights collective) that they too organised for sex workers and friends, supporters, family to march for their rights………………….9 Years ago…………….

And here it is in the page 4 newspaper photo!

Many thanks to Lian for the great story and Ho Down for participating in the march. You can contact hodown on hodown@gmail.com. SWOP NT supplied the photos. This article was first published in Red Light Rights, by SWOP NT, 2006.