300 rally for Palestine

May 15, 2002


MELBOURNE — On May 11 300 Palestinian supporters commemorated Al Nakba — otherwise known as "the catastrophe" — the destruction by Israel, between 1947 and 1950, of 415 Palestinian villages, creating a million refugees.

The protest, calling for an end to Israeli persecution of Palestinians, was attended by many young people and families — some from Arabic and Islamic communities, some not. The protest was joined by a "women against war" protest organised by Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition. Then at the Bourke Street Mall, the march met up with protesters opposing the proposed "anti-terrorism" laws.

Mohamed Shihata from the recently formed Palestine Solidarity Network (PSN) spoke, demanding that Israel: "return the rights of the Palestinian people and let them have their land back. Not any land but the land occupied by the Palestinian people before 1967."

With loud, vibrant and secular chants the march proceeded to the federal court where Damien Lawson spoke on behalf of the Western Suburbs Legal Service, pointing out that, if the "anti-terror" legislation is passed, organisations like Friends of Palestine could be made illegal.

The PSN's Albaraa Abu-Aisheh put Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on trial for his crimes against the Palestinian people, declaring him "guilty" of war crimes. An effigy of Sharon was set alight to cries of "burn Sharon burn!".

Taimor Hazou from Friends of Palestine urged everyone to take action again if Israel invades the Gaza Strip, announcing that an emergency action would occur on the Friday 5pm at the State Library, in the week of an invasion occurring.

From Green Left Weekly, May 15, 2002.
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