The ninth weekend of protests against Israel's attempted genocide of Gaza coincided with international Human Rights Day on December 10.
The rallies mobilised tens of thousands of people calling for a permanent ceasefire and, in some cities, were larger than the previous weekend.
Many expressed their outrage at Labor's continuing refusal to criticise Israel and call for a ceasefire.
Greens MP Jenny Leong in Gadi/Sydney sharply criticised Labor, while participants reflected their outrage with signs. “Albo/Wong: Shame on you,” read one sign. Another person carried an Anthony Albanese election sign with a shoe across the Prime Minister's face as a mark of disrespect.
Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather told the Meanjin/Brisbane rally that Albanese should be representing the people. Instead, he is representing “Joe Biden and the US empire”.
“The Labor party knows about [the crimes of the Israeli government] and they still send weapons and arms to the Israeli military. We should never forget this.”
The rallies were organised after the United States vetoed another call for a ceasefire in the United Nations Security Council (SC). The US as a permanent member of the SC made sure the resolution did not succeed. Britain abstained, while the remaining members voted for it.
The rally in Naarm/Melbourne was endorsed and strongly supported by the Victorian Trades Hall Council. This followed a cutting speech by union leader Christy Cain the week before calling on the union movement to do more.
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union state secretary Mick Buchan spoke to a couple of thousand people at a rally in Boorloo/Perth, Sam Wainwright reported.
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance member Nick Chesterfield spoke in Meanjin/Brisbane, highlighting Israel's slaughter of journalists in Gaza and criticising journalist “stenographers” as well as editors in the Western establishment media who are complicit.
Another feature of this weekend's rallies is the growing number of regional mobilisations.
Around 100 people gathered in Karratha, in Western Australia's Pilbara region, on December 10 for the second demonstration in recent weeks, Chris Jenkins reports.
Local residents, including healthcare staff and the regional maritime union organiser, called on Albanese to end the government's collusion with Israel, and maximise pressure to end the violence. The rally was organised by Pilbara for Palestine.
Local councils take a stand
About 60 people rallied outside the December 11 meeting of the Sydney City Council to urge it to adopt a motion, moved by Greens councillor Sylvie Elsmore, calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza. It was passed.
Community pressure also forced Maribyrnong Council to withdraw a motion to rescind a ceasefire resolution. A celebration of council's decision to fly the Palestinian flag will go ahead on December 12.
Victorian Socialists councillor Jorge Jorquera paid tribute to community members and organisations for their campaign to pressure council to maintain its pro-Palestine stand.
A campaign is also building to pressure the Wyndham Council in Victoria to show solidarity with Palestine.
Other initiatives in that state include a December 13 rally in Dandenong, a December 16 protest in Heidelberg and a December 18 protest in Broadmeadows.
Justice for Palestine protesters in Meanjin/Brisbane, who organised a powerful protest outside federal treasurer Jim Chalmers' electoral office, will return on December 13 to deliver a giant pro-ceasefire Christmas card.
Activists from Wage Peace successfully blockaded the Thales weapons factory in Bendigo in Victoria on December 5. “Thales is a French multinational arms dealer and weapons manufacturer specialising in defence and aerospace technology, currently partnering with Israeli companies ELBIT and Israeli Aerospace Industries,” said protester Yasmina.
Also in Victoria, activists organised a canoe blockade of Israeli Zim ship in the Port of Melbourne and school students held a second school strike for Palestine on December 7.
In addition, Palestine justice supporters are organising public forums.
Green Left and Socialist Alliance are hosting a forum on “Building the movement to free Palestine” on December 12 in Gadi/Sydney (and online) and Free Palestine Melbourne is hosting a forum with Israeli activist Miko Peled on December 14.
Peter Boyle spoke on the topic “What is behind US support for Israel?” on December 6.
[Please send photos and reports from local protests and solidarity campaigns in your area to Green Left at firstname.lastname@example.org.]