Protests continue for 23 weeks against Israel's genocide in Gaza

March 19, 2024
No pride in genocide, Burleigh Heads, March 16
No pride in genocide, Burleigh Heads, March 16. Photo: Jordan AK

Pro-Palestine protests on the weekend of March 16-17 were the 23rd continuous week of mobilisations against Australia's complicity in Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza.

They took place as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is underway and while Israeli starvation policies and direct slaughter of Palestinian civilians lining up to collect food aid continue.

Thousands of protesters marched for Palestine in Naarm/Melbourne on March 17 with a sit-in near the State Library before being told to move on by the Victorian Police, reports Jacob Andrewartha.

Speakers on the platform included 6-year old Palestinian Nader and prominent Australian comedian Nazeem Hussein.

The rally opted for a shorter march route because of Ramadan.


Bombing hospitals is a war crime, Naarm/Melbourne, March 17
Bombing hospitals is a war crime, Naarm/Melbourne, March 17. Photo: Jacob Andrewartha

Thousands rallied also in Gadigal/Sydney the same day.

Peter Boyle reported that “there was something special about the weekly Gaza solidarity march on March 17”.

“Perhaps it was because it was the first big march during this Ramadan or perhaps it was the unimaginably horrific situation facing the people in Gaza today, after 23 weeks of Israel’s genocidal assault.”

“The speeches pierced to the heart and as we marched down towards Pitt St Mall, thousands of marchers chanted in unison: ‘Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now!…’ We then held a sit down on the street, the chant becoming louder and louder. I looked around and tears were running down people’s faces — those of many onlookers as well.”

One protester held aloft a bloodied bundle that symbolised the thousands of children killed in Israel’s ruthless and indiscriminate bombing.


Jewish/Palestinian solidarity in Gadigal/Sydney
Jewish/Palestinian solidarity in Gadigal/Sydney

The Meanjin/Brisbane rally on March 16 was combined with an Iftar (breaking of the fast). Kamala Emanuel reports that there was a strong recognition at the event that “Palestians are being starved in Gaza”.

“Normally, Ramadan is a joyful time, because breaking the fast together is a time of sharing, connection and spirituality, which we participated in with the consciousness that people in Gaza was starving”.

Rita Jabri Markwell spoke about the referral of Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong and other politicians to the International Criminal Court for violating the Rome Statute (the 1998 treaty that established the ICC to investigate and prosecute allegations of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity).

Imam Zohair Abdul-Rahman spoke of the Palestinian people's faith and resilience. People in Australia should be grateful for the Palestinian example of resilience, resistance, steadfastness and hope, he said.

Students for Palestine organised a disrupt the city action which marched in to the Iftar earlier in the afternoon.

Numerous other smaller actions are taking place across the country.

Northern Rivers Friends of Palestine staged a die-in outside the office of Labor MP for Richmond, Justine Elliot, at Tweed Heads on March 16, reports Nick Fredman. After the action activists joined a rally at Burleigh Heads organised by Gold Coast Palestine Solidarity.


Northern Rivers Friends of Palestine, March 16
Northern Rivers Friends of Palestine, March 16. Photo: Nick Fredman

The previous day, 50 people gathered in Cairns to draw attention to the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza and to protest the Australian government's support for that genocide.

Free Palestine FNQ organised participants to read details about the events of the previous fortnight and to read personal stories about the effects of Israel's slaughter.

Free Palestine FNQ is organising fortnightly vigils and rallies.


Candlelight vigil in Gimuy/Cairns, March 15
Candlelight vigil in Gimuy/Cairns, March 15. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

Protesters in Gadigal/Sydney called on the Egyptian regime to let food and aid supplies into Gaza outside the Egyptian consulate on March 14.

In many places, protesters highlighted the ongoing complicity of the Australian Labor government. A 24-hour per day vigil outside Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s electorate office in Marrickville continues after more than five weeks.

Community members from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie led a national day of action on March 14 outside federal parliamentarians' offices, reports Niko Leka. Hundreds of people joined ‘die-ins’ at politicians’ offices.


Protest outside the office of Pat Conroy, Minister for Defence Industry, March 15
Protest outside the office of Pat Conroy, Minister for Defence Industry, March 15. Photo: Niko Leka

In Lake Macquarie, locals gathered at the office of Pat Conroy, Minister for Defence Industry. They conducted a silent procession holding bloodied and shrouded bodies, to the horrific sounds of massacres in Gaza, before lying down in a symbolic show of solidarity.

Over 30,000 Palestinians, more than 12,000 of whom are children, have been murdered by Israel over the past five months, the protesters said.

Their demands on the Federal Government include: a call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire; that Australia cut all military ties with Israel; and that the government fulfill its obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent and punish genocide.

Protests occurred in Marrickville, Bathurst, Hume, Lismore, Central Coast, Bega, Blue Mountains, and Tweed Heads.

Students also protested outside the Sussex Street Labor headquarters on March 14.

A crowd of 50 protesters supported Socialist Alliance' Sue Bolton as she successfully moved an updated Palestine solidarity motion at the Merri-bek Council on March 13. The Council resolved to continue flying the Palestinian flag until there is a permanent ceasefire and to stop doing business with companies benefiting from the genocide.


Palestine supporters at the Merri-bek Council meeting, March 13
Palestine supporters at the Merri-bek Council meeting, March 13. Photo: Emma Hartley

Protesters gathered for a snap protest outside the Department of Home Affairs in Naarm/Melbourne condemning the Albanese government's decision to cancel visas of Palestinian refugees fleeing the genocide in Gaza.


Restore Palestinian visas, Naarm/Melbourne, March 15
Restore Palestinian visas, Naarm/Melbourne, March 15. Photo: Jacob Andrewartha


Conversations for Palestine, Muloobinba/Newcastle, March 14
Conversations for Palestine, Muloobinba/Newcastle, March 14. Photo: Steve O'Brien


Demand a permanent ceasefire now, Burleigh Heads, March 16
Demand a permanent ceasefire now, Burleigh Heads, March 16. Photo: Jordan AK


Naarm/Melbourne protest, March 17
Naarm/Melbourne protest, March 17. Photo: Jacob Andrewartha


Ceasefire in Gaza now, Gimuy/Cairns
Ceasefire in Gaza now, Gimuy/Cairns. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

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