“Judging by the toots of support, the people of the northern suburbs [of Melbourne] are with Gaza and not with the Australian government,” Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton told Green Left.
She was speaking about the 1000-strong Coburg protest organised by Bolton and independent councillor Monica Harte on October 19.
Bolton slammed the Australian government's response to Israel's bombing campaign as “appalling”.
“It's absolutely critical [to protest now],” she said, “especially as governments all around the world are standing with Israel despite the fact that Israel has clearly indicated that it is intending not just a war against Gaza but a genocide”.
She also highlighted Israel's continuing war against Palestinians in the West Bank as well.
Bolton told Green Left that Israeli officials are trying to dehumanise Palestinians by calling them “human animals” and similar slurs “as if their lives aren't worth preserving”.
“The Australian government has been absolutely appalling,” she said.
While some Labor politicians have begun making meek comments about civilians being harmed harmed, this is not enough she said.
“If they were serious about not harming of civilians, they would at the very least call for an immediate lifting of the siege and allowing unfettered amounts of water, electricity, medical aid, construction materials [in to Gaza].”
“And they would call for an immediate cessation of all the bombing and the reconstruction of Gaza.”
Even if all that was met, she said, there is still the question of the ongoing occupation of Palestine. However, in Bolton's view, lifting the siege of Gaza is a bare minimum.
“The so-called humanitarian supply that's been negotiated by Biden is pathetic,” she said. “Twenty trucks! At the very least they need 100 trucks per day.”
When Israel cuts off the electricity, water and food supply, “that is destruction of civilians in Gaza by its very nature,” she said.
Bolton is heartened by the “really strong response from local community groups” at the Coburg rally.
“We had around 1000 people who participated at some point in the two hour protest and a huge response from passers by.”
Further rallies all around the country are planned for this weekend. Check the Green Left activist calendar for more information.