Thousands of Australians march in solidarity with Palestine after Israel formally declares war on Hamas

Thousands of Australians march in solidarity with Palestine after Israel formally declares war on Hamas

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Nearly a thousand people partied at a pro-Palestinian rally following Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel over the weekend.

The rally, organized by Palestine Action Group Sydney, took place at the Town Hall in Sydney’s CBD at 5.30pm, with attendees prepared to march to the Sydney Opera House.

The march coincides with the NSW Government’s decision to illuminate the historic site in blue and white – the colors of the Israeli flag – in support of Jewish community groups in NSW.

Parliament House in Canberra is one of many Australian landmarks being lit up in solidarity with Israel.

Members of the crowd chanted, “Palestine will never die”, “Israel, USA, how many children have you killed today?” and “Shame, shame Australia,” and “Shame, shame elbows” as they approached Circular Quay.

On the steps of the Opera House, candles were lit while candles were lit to convey the message of ‘Free Palestine’.

Three people carrying Israeli flags were reportedly removed from the rally, which Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had previously urged pro-Palestinian protesters to leave.

Police also asked the Jewish community to avoid the Opera House tribute because of the rally.

“NSW Police are urging the community not to attend the Sydney Opera House or Town Hall this evening,” an email sent to members of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies said.

“Community members already in the CBD should remain vigilant as protesters are likely to march from the Town Hall to the Sydney Opera House.

“Tonight’s events may pose a threat to the safety of community members and you are strongly urged not to get involved.”

pro-palestine rally
camera iconThe stairs of the opera house lit up with lamps. Credit: News Corp Australia

Appearing on 2GB Drive with Chris O’Keefe, Mr Albanese called on people to respect the “loss of life” that followed a surprise attack on Israel by the Palestinian military group Hamas at the weekend, killing more than 1,100. Civilians died.

“I think people really need to take a step back,” he said while speaking with Chris O’Keefe on the 2GB drive.

“What has happened here is completely inexcusable. You cannot target civilians like what happened over the weekend where thousands of people attended a music festival.

“The idea that you guys would essentially start randomly shooting indiscriminately, trying to cause as much damage and bloodshed as possible, is just an atrocity that deserves all condemnation.”

However, Palestine Action Group Sydney organizer Josh Lees criticized both the state and federal governments for taking a “unilateral stance”.

Participants are seen during a Free Palestine rally in Sydney.
camera iconParticipants are seen during a Free Palestine rally in Sydney. Credit: dean lewis,aapiimage

“The media and the government are condemning the loss of civilian lives. What about Palestinian citizens? Why don’t their lives matter?” He said.

“Where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promises to target every corner of the Gaza Strip in the coming days are condemned.”

The activist group condemned Israel for starting a “full-scale war on Palestine” and called on Australia to “sever ties with Israel”.

The event description reads, “Everyone who stands up for justice, freedom, against apartheid, colonialism and imperialism has a responsibility to stand up for Palestine.”

“End Israeli apartheid, occupation, siege of Gaza.”

NSW Police were at the protest and said they would “work with protesters to ensure there is no breach of the peace and there is minimal impact on the community”.

“The NSW Police Force is aware of the upcoming planned protest activity at Sydney Town Hall today (Monday, October 9, 2023) and will monitor the situation accordingly,” the statement said.

“The NSW Police Force recognizes and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly; However, the first priority for NSW Police is always the safety of the wider community.


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