Hundreds gather in national capitals to remember victims of 1945 bombing
Friday August 7, 2015
Lanterns at Sydney Town Hall
Candlelight vigils were held throughout Australia last night, and public buildings lit in red, to mark the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima's destruction by atomic bomb and reiterate the call for a complete ban on nuclear weapons.
Bearing lanterns and paper cranes - the Japanese symbol for peace which has become synonymous with the commemoration - hundreds gathered in Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Alice Springs, Canberra, Perth, Darwin and Adelaide to remember those killed during and after the bombings, and show their support for a nuclear-free future.
Following the Melbourne vigil on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, attendees walked in procession up Swanston Street to RMIT University, where the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) group presented a special screening of the rarely-seen Japanese film Hiroshima. Town halls and public buildings in the state capitals were lit in red to mark the anniversary, while the city of Fremantle illuminated the iconic Arthur Head cliffs.
Yvette Zegenhagen from the International Humanitarian Law team at Australian Red Cross said that observing the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki serve as a reminder of the destructive capability of nuclear weapons, of which 1,800 are launch-ready today.
"It's very important to reflect on the catastrophic humanitarian suffering that is caused by these weapons. These weapons are still in existence: they haven't been banned, and the disaster and pain that they unleash is unlike any other weapon."
A final vigil will be held in Tasmania on Saturday 8 August on the Parliament lawns, Hobart at 11am.
Australian Red Cross is calling for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Read more