Thousands March in Free Palestine Rallies in Sydney
Story Code : 932850
There was also an outcry for the Australian government to take a stronger stance on the Israeli attacks against Palestine.
In recent days Australian and Palestinian human rights groups have urged the Australian government to stop pursuing a potential free trade agreement with Israel and condemn its actions in Gaza and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The protests mirrored these demands, and went further, urging the government to enact boycott, divestment and sanction actions against Israel, similar to those used against South Africa during the apartheid era.
Many at the Australian rallies spoke of Israel committing apartheid – a view supported by Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem, a Jerusalem-based human rights group, but vehemently disputed by several Australian Jewish associations such as the Anti-Defamation Commission.
Randa Abdel-Fattah, a writer and prominent Palestinian activist, was one of around 5,000 people who attended the rally at Sydney Town Hall. She said access to social media had been a driving force in the growing support for Palestinians.
Earlier this week, Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, urged an end to the violence. Payne said the government was deeply concerned about escalating unrest in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
“We’ve unequivocally called on all leaders to take immediate steps to halt violence, to maintain restraint, and to restore calm,” she said at a press briefing in Washington, DC, on Friday.
Similar rallies were also held in other Australian cities such as Malborne.