Some 150 or so protesters eventually assembled on the forecourt of the SBS building where they were welcomed by veteran anti-Muslim agitator Avi Yemini, a habitual associate of Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson and other luminaries of the local fascist right.
“We are going to show the Victorian socialist state that there is still hope,” Yemeni said. He led the crowd in a chant of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi”, before explaining that he wasn’t interested in hating women.
“I bloody love women,” he said. “This is about empowering men, about giving men a voice.”
Later, the marchers heard from veteran men’s rights activist Robert Brockway, who complained about the cruelty of terms like “mansplaining”, “manspreading”, “manflu” and “man babies”.
“It’s time to stop the name calling!” he pleaded.
Yet Brockway’s sensitivity about such indignities (he also objected to “man child” and “deadbeat dads”) sat rather strangely alongside the priorities of other attendees, such as the members of the Infidel Brotherhood, the fascist Antipodean Resistance and Blair Cottrell’s Lads Society.
The white T-shirts being sold by the organisers raised funds, Yemini said, for “Dads in distress” while the event attracted a sizeable contingent from the Australian Brotherhood of Fathers.
“It’s OK for you to stand up,” Watson said, “to have your rights listened to, to have your issues addressed.”
Yet even as speakers spoke of male fragility and the legitimacy of men’s feelings, a contingent from the Australian Proud Boys loudly denounced the 100 or so supporters of the rival Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (Carf) as “soyboys”, “cucks” and “manginas”.