Palestinian supporters in Melbourne and Sydney rallied on March 15 to commemorate 61 years since the Palestinian Nakba — the day of the catastrophe.
From March 15, 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland by Zionist forces. More than 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed.
Today more than 7 million Palestinians live in exile — the largest refugee community in the world.
Speakers at the 400-strong Melbourne rally included Palestinian community representative Yousef Al Reemawi, Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union telecommunications division state secretary Len Cooper, Hisham Moustafa from the Coalition of Palestine Support Organisations, Students for Palestine representative Omar Hassan and artist Van Thanh Rudd.
For the first time, a Tamil community representative addressed a Palestine solidarity rally in Melbourne. Pratheepan Balasubramanian outlined the similarity between the Palestinian and Tamil struggles.
Israel declares itself to be a Jewish state and Sri Lanka declares itself a Sinhala-Buddhist state. Other religions and ethnic groups are discriminated against in both countries.
One hundred and twenty-five people attended the Al-Nakba remembrance rally in Parramatta mall in Sydney. The rally was organised by the Gaza Defence Committee and BDS Sydney. Speakers at the rally included the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union construction division assistant secretary Mal Tulloch, Tamil solidarity activist Adrian Francis, Palestinian solidarity activists Ophelia Haragli Rihab Charida, Aboriginal activist Jenny Munro and the Socialist Alliance's Aaron Benedek.