Mass rallies are taking place in eight Australian cities this weekend to mark the eight-year anniversary of the country’s ban on marriage equality.

The rallies, which are taking place this Saturday afternoon in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Canberra and Newcastle, will include mass illegal weddings, marches and the handing over of a petition against then Prime Minister John Howard’s 2004 ruling, which ensured same-sex couples would not be included in the Australian Marriage Act.

In Melbourne, protestors will mass for a rally before marching to the Old Treasury building for an illegal mass wedding ceremony. In Sydney, a petition with 8,413 signatures will be handed to the Green Party at the city’s Town Hall.

Writing for the Australian website samesame.com, Matt Akersten said: “The latest nationwide day of action comes as advocates are buoyed by the Tasmanian Premier’s promise to grant equal marriage rights in that state. Meanwhile, a new poll reveals support for marriage equality among Australian voters is now at 64%.”

The promoters and organisers of the rallies say the events are to demonstrate to Prime Minister Julia Gillard – who has remained unbending in her support for traditional marriage – and the Federal Labour Government that the determination to overturn the ban has not gone away.