Palestine protests call out West for 'aiding and abetting genocide'

June 17, 2024
Sydney protest for Palestine
Protesters in Gadigal Country/Sydney marched to support students at the University of Sydney solidarity encampment. Photo: Zebedee Parkes

Protests for Palestine over the weekend of June 15–16 coincided with the beginning of Eid al-Adha.

Palestinian activist Jana Fayyad, chairing the rally in Gadigal Country/Sydney, said there would be no joy in celebrating Eid al-Adha while Palestinians continue to suffer genocide and ethnic cleansing.

She said families had been torn apart, with many unsure if their parents, siblings or children are still alive. 

Israel has continued its assault on Rafah and has reportedly stepped up its attacks in the West Bank and southern Lebanon.

Around 40,000 have been killed in Gaza, including more than 15,000 children. More than 500 have been killed in the West Bank.

More than 10,000 people are still missing.

“All the while, Western governments continue to aid and abet this genocide,” Fayyad said.

Mohammed Mayara, journalist, activist and journalist from Western Sahara, spoke about the “striking similarities” between the struggle to free Western Sahara from Morocco’s occupation and the Palestinian struggle.

Mayara is on a speaking tour of the country, bringing awareness to the plight of the Sahrawi people.

Protest organisers had planned to march from Belmore Park to the University of Sydney (USyd) to support the student solidarity encampment.

However, USyd management threatened protesters with campus bans, citing the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 to prevent people from entering the university grounds and marching to the encampment.

Instead, the protest marched to the campus entrance, only a short distance away from the encampment, and held a sit-in.


Protesters outside the University of Sydney
Protesters sit-in outside the University of Sydney. Photo: Isaac Nellist

A popular chant was: “One: We are the people! Two: We won’t be silenced! Three: Stop the bombing now, now, now now!”

Days prior, the university sent security to clear the encampment, pulling down tents and shelters, some with students and personal belongings still inside.

Ethan Floyd, USyd Student Representative Council First Nations Officer — who has been sleeping at the encampment for 54 days — said USyd management had refused to concede to demands for disclosure and divestment of deals with arms companies and Israeli institutions.

“Along with other representatives of the encampment, I sat in negotiating rooms with management for weeks as they handed down offer after offer that failed to meet our demands,” he said.

“The best they could offer was a working group to investigate and review the university’s investments and scholarships for students studying in Gaza…

“There are no students studying in Gaza, Israel has bombed every university in Gaza ... the academic year has been cancelled,” he pointed out.

Floyd said students would not accept “crumbs” in exchange for packing down their camp.

He said the encampments were part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and had been established all around the world, including at Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The USyd encampment is the longest continuous student encampment in the world.


Palestine solidarity protest in Naarm/Melbourne
Palestine solidarity protest in Naarm/Melbourne. Photo: Jordan AK

Rallies in Gadigal Country and Naarm/Melbourne marked 36 weeks of consecutive weekend protests against Israel’s genocidal assault.

Jordan AK reports that Victoria Police continued their escalation of repression of the weekly Palestine rallies in Naarm, blocking the truck that serves as the platform for speakers from parking outside the State Library, where it has parked for the past 8 months.

In response, the truck was parked in the middle of the road on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Street. 

This follows police pepper spraying and pushing protesters at the previous weekend's rally on June 9.


Police block sound truck
Police blocked the truck used as a stage for speakers from parking in its usual spot. Photo: Jordan AK

On June 15, a successful march was held from Preston to Northcote, stopping at the offices of three Labor MPs to protest their support for the genocide. The march was organised by Darebin for Palestine.


Magan-djin/Brisbane protest for Palestine
Magan-djin/Brisbane protest for Palestine. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

More than 500 people rallied for an end to Israel's genocide in Magan-djin/Brisbane on June 15.

Alex Bainbridge reported that the rally had a "Global solidarity will free Palestine" theme.

Jamshied from the Kashmir community said he can "feel the pain that Palestine is going through because we [in Kashmir] are going through exactly the same thing".

He spoke about the economic ties between Israel and the Narendra Modi regime in India. India is the second largest importer of Israeli arms, he said, pointing out that this means India is funding the genocide.


Magan-djin/Brisbane protest for Palestine
Magan-djin/Brisbane. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

Rolo Allemande from the Chilean community said that the BDS campaign has helped build support around the world for the Palestinian cause. “Solidarity works," he said.

Comedian Akmal Saleh told the rally that the lies justifying Israel's genocide are “becoming so blatant and so transparent".

He said that Israel's claim that it has “the right to defend itself" is a “blatant lie".

“They actually don't technically have the right to defend themselves against people they're holding prisoner," he said, but even if they did “it's still a lie".

“Dropping 2000 pound bombs on a civilian population is not self defence," he said.

"Intentially killing aid workers, then lying about it, then admitting it when the evidence is overwhelming is not self defence."


Magan-djin/Brisbane protest for Palestine
Magan-djin/Brisbane. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

A screening of the documentary Palestine Under Siege was held at Kombumerri/Gold Coast on June 15, raising money for the Hebron Human Rights Defenders project, which aims to document human rights violations by the Israeli occupation. 

Susan Price reported that more than 50 people attended the screening at the masjid in Arundel.


Adelaide palestine protest
Kaurna Yerta/Adelaide. Photo: Jordan Ellis

Greens MLC Tammy Franks told 500 people at the June 15 rally in Kaurna Yerta/Adelaide that Labor’s attacks on the Greens and the Palestine solidarity movement show that the Anthony Albanese government is under pressure. 

She said smearing the movement with claims of violence and antisemitism would not work and urged people to keep up the pressure. 

The rally held significance as it took place ahead of Refugee Week. Refugee rights activist Anne McMenamin spoke on behalf of the Adelaide Vigil for Manus and Nauru, which has been holding a weekly vigil in the city for nearly 10 years.

McMenamin recalled the impact of television footage during the Vietnam War in sparking outrage and encouraging people to take action against the war. 

She said horrific images and personal stories of the genocide in Gaza appearing on social media feeds have helped reveal the atrocities Israel is committing. 

McMenamin said there are 6 million Palestinian refugees still living in refugee camps 76 years after the Nakba. 

She called on the government to welcome more Palestinian refugees, and fund resettlement and aid programs for international refugees.

“Let us harness the heightened awareness and compassion aroused by the horrors in Gaza to work actively for a peaceful, humane world,” she said. 


Adelaide protest for Palestine
Kaurna Yerta/Adelaide. Photo: Jordan Ellis

Another rally was held in nipaluna/Hobart on June 15. Tasmanian Palestine Advocacy Network organised the rallies to occur weekly after Israel began its assault on Rafah.


Gadigal Country/Sydney protest for Gaza
Gadigal Country/Sydney protest. Photo: Isaac Nellist


Naarm/Melbourne Palestine rally.
Naarm/Melbourne. Photo: Jordan AK


Naarm/Melbourne Palestine rally.
Naarm/Melbourne. Photo: Jordan AK


Magan-djin/Brisbane protest for Palestine
Magan-djin/Brisbane. Photo: Alex Bainbridge


Kaurna Yerta/Adelaide. Photo: Jordan Ellis

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