Huge Melbourne rallies for Gaza

MELBOURNE — Israel's massacre of the Gazan people has resulted in the biggest demonstrations in support of the Palestinians in decades.

The first demonstration, called with only 48-hours notice, was attended by 3000 people. Four days later, a second protest mobilised around 5000 people. The largest protest occurred on January 18, mobilising around 10,000 people.

While the Arabic and Muslim communities were the backbone of the protests, by the January 18 protest, a significant section of the old peace movement came out to condemn Israel's barbaric actions. As well as flags from Hamas and Hezbollah, people brought Greek, Turkish, Bosnian and other flags, as well as a contingent of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front from El Salvador.

Even after Israel's declaration of a unilateral cease-fire, 130 people attended a candlelight vigil on January 21 and 500 people turned out to a protest on January 23 to demonstrate to the people of Melbourne that the war on Gaza is not yet over.

Now, the activists in Melbourne are turning their thoughts to how we can develop an ongoing Palestine solidarity campaign, especially with a number of significant Victorian union leaders indicating an interest in doing more to support the campaign.