All Things Assyrian
Emotions Run High At Fairfield Council
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Emotions ran high at last week's Fairfield Council meeting when about 300 members of the Assyrian community attended to support a proposal for a commemorative plaque.

Liberal councillor Zaya Toma moved that the council find an appropriate public space for a plaque to commemorate Assyrian soldiers who fought and died in the world wars.

It will be fully funded by the Assyrian Levies Association.

A question without notice from Cr Toma last November for the plaque was initially rejected on the grounds that it was "impractical" for the council to erect a memorial for every nationality.

Since then Cr Toma has gained the full support of the Assyrian community, of which about 30,000 live in Fairfield, and found a location for the plaque opposite 23 The Crescent, Fairfield.

But emotions were provoked when Labor councillor and Assyrian Anwar Khoshaba, who was granted permission to address the public in Assyrian and then in English, stated a report would need to return to the council to identify an appropriate location for the plaque.

Mayor Nick Lalich also suggested a memorial wall be erected to allow different nationalities to place their own commemorative plaque.

This was met with anger from some members of the crowd who began shouting at Cr Khoshaba and Mayor Nick Lalich: "No more Labor" and "Out with Lalich".

The meeting was adjourned as members of the public took to the microphone to voice their opinions despite Mr Lalich's pleas for the public to leave the chambers.

One man slammed his fist on the table of Cr Khoshaba and loud chanting could be heard from inside the chambers.

Cr Khoshaba later told the Champion his motion was in favour of the proposal.

"I told the public in Assyrian that they would leave here very happy," he said.

"Cr Toma asked for an investigation but I asked for the motion to be approved and for a process for future applications because we are serving the entire community."

By Stacey Vanoska

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