- by Elle Bee
- The Guardian
- Issue #2080
On Sunday 19 November, tens of thousands gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park to protest the ongoing war in Gaza carried out by Israel. Members of the CPA once again joined the protests, which have now been held for six consecutive weekends in major cities throughout the country.
Speakers at the rally came from a wide range of backgrounds, including Palestinian activists and community members, Indigenous activists, and members of Parliament. Attendees were encouraged to support the Boycott, Divestment Sanction (BDS) movement, which aims to cut financial support to the Israeli government and Israeli companies that fund the occupation and war on Palestine. This includes the ongoing Boycott of the ZIM shipping line, an Israeli company which has pledged to provide resources and infrastructure to the needs of the Israeli government and the Israeli Defence Force in their war. Trade Unionists in the crowd, including the NTEU, Teachers Federation, ASU and UWU, were all encouraged to continue organising in their unions in support of Palestine.
The speakers condemned the cowardice of the Australian government for their failure to support a full ceasefire, instead still supporting a brief humanitarian pause, in the face of ongoing civilian casualties and war crimes in Gaza. Australia is further complicit in the violence by selling weapons to Israel. From the history of the conflict, it is a clear that a humanitarian pause will not bring about any reprieve for Palestinians, as the Israeli government has continually conducted violent incursions and land grabs in Palestine since the Nakba in 1948.
The protests continue to have a heavy police presence both in Hyde Park and throughout the march through the city’s CBD. NSW Premier Chris Minns recently said that maintaining such a large police presence at these major protests can cost upwards of $1 million. Speakers at the rally rightfully called out the premier for these complaints, calling on him to demand a ceasefire and the return of Palestinian land if he is unhappy with people taking to the streets in protest. The speakers ended the rally by mourning the loss of the thousands of innocent children who have lost their lives in Gaza since 7 October.
Protests will be held again this coming weekend, along with vigils, school strikes for Palestine, and other actions being held through the week. The ZIM shipping line boycott is ongoing in major cities, and needs support!