More protests at Israeli aid flotilla attack – 5 June 2010

Banners at head of march in Melbourne

Saturday 5 June saw continuing worldwide protests over Israel’s attack on an aid convoy heading for Gaza (see e.g., The Age). There were protests in Sydney and Melbourne, reported on Melbourne Indymedia, where these photos were taken:

Religious leaders at head of march

Crowd at State Library

The protest started with a rally at the State Library

Another view of the crowd at the Library

Another view of the crowd at the Library

Banner at State Library

One of many banners

On the march to Parliament House:

Banner reads: Pull down the apartheid wall, dismantle Israeli settlements

Banner of LaTrobe University students

Banner of Anatolian Cultural Centre

The Greens in the march with their distinctive heart-shaped placards

The Greens in the march with their distinctive heart-shaped and triangular placards

Hand-shaped placard - Stop the Genocide

From the middle of the march, looking back down Bourke Street

From the middle of the march, looking back down Bourke Street

At Parliament House:

Crowd at Parliament House

Palestinian speaker at Parliament House

Palestinian speaker at Parliament House

Another view of the crowd at Parliament House

Model of boat with slogan Free Gaza, Free Palestine

At the end of the protest, this unusually elaborate 'prop'

Protest at Israeli attack on aid flotilla – 1 June 2010

Protest banners in Bourke Street mall at start of protest

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign called an emergency action in response to Israel’s lethal attack on peace activists on board a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.  In spite of the extraordinarily short notice – scarcely 24 hours – as many as 1500 people assembled in the Bourke Street Mall to voice their anger and condemnation of Israel’s action. There was a long list of speakers, including Greens Senate candidate Adam Bandt and union leaders, representatives of the Turkish and other communities, as well as a strong anti-Zionist Jewish voice towards the end, when the protest had moved through the streets to the State Library. There is more about the rally on Melbourne Indymedia and video on YouTube:

(Also on EngageMedia)

Banner at head of march - "Shame Israel"

15 May – Al Nakba commemoration

Rally observes a minute's silence for the victims

Rally observes a minute's silence for the victims

Several hundred members of the Palestinian community along with supporters from all walks of life rallied at the State Library on Friday to mark the 61st anniversary of some see as the birth of the state of Israel, but others as the catastrophe that overtook the people of Palestine on that day. Also remembered was the ongoing struggle of Indigenous people in Australia, and the sufferings of Tamils in their homeland.

The rally began with an acknowledgment of Aboriginal ownership of the land, and a minute’s silence for the dead. There were several speakers, and a group of Palestinian dancers. Then a march to Federation Square, to join a vigil in protest at the current killings in Sri Lanka.

Links:
Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Tamil Community portal – Melbourne

Indigenous Social Justice Association – Melbourne

Some of the following images are included in a slideshow on YouTube:

Some of the banners and placards at the rally:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Swinbourne Student Union/Students for Palestine

Swinbourne Student Union/Students for Palestine

LaTrobe University Students for Palestine

LaTrobe University Students for Palestine

Monash Students for Palestine

Monash Students for Palestine

Indigenous Social Justice Association - Melbourne

Indigenous Social Justice Association - Melbourne

One protester was wearing this patch on her back

One protester was wearing this patch on her back

(Sondos Ismael was on board the SIEVX, which sank on 19 October 2001 on route from Indonesia to Christmas Island, with the loss of 353 lives. She survived, and was eventually reunited with her husband in Australia, but her three young daughter drowned. See http://www.tonykevin.com.au/TheTragedy.html)

Some of the speakers:

Hisham Mustafa of the Islamic Council of Victoria

Hisham Mustafa of the Islamic Council of Victoria

The leaflet Hisham is waving is a key part of the campaign to boycott transport company Connex, which currently runs Melbourne’s train network and is tendering for a renewal of the contract. It has also won a contract for a light rail system connecting Jewish settlements on the West Bank – see the link to Dump Connex.

Pratheepan Balasubramanian

Pratheepan Balasubramanian

As already mentioned, the rally ended with a march to Federation Square, where it merged with a vigil held by the Tamil community. Pratheepan Balasubramanian spoke at the rally, tracing the history of the present conflict back to the end of British colonial rule and the creation of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1948, the same year as the ‘birth’ of Israel.

Alison Thorne of ISJA (see above)

Alison Thorne of ISJA (see above)

Here is the text of what she said:

On behalf of the Indigenous Social Justice Association — Melbourne, greetings! On the occasion of the 61st anniversary Al Nakba we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We support this struggle as we support the Tamils, Maori, West Papuans and indeed all oppressed nations battling occupation, theft of land, suppression of culture and genocidal practices.

It is vital that we acknowledge that we too are standing on occupied land and that Aboriginal Australians experienced their own catastrophe in 1788.

Just as anti-Zionist Jews in Israel must take action to stop the atrocities of the Israeli State, every one of us has a responsibility to make the connections and integrate the struggle to win justice for Indigenous Australians into every aspect of our organising.

The apartheid state of Israel is not only a catastrophe for the Palestinian people, it is also a death trap for Jewish people who want to live in peace. Because there can be no peace without justice. And there can be no justice when Palestinian refugees have no right of return, live in crowded refugee camps and have their miserable fragments of territory divided by an apartheid wall, Zionist settlements and roads and restrictive checkpoints.

And there can be no peace in this country built on the theft of Aboriginal land when Aboriginal people continue to die in custody, have their incomes quarantined, see their languages disappearing, die too young and live in overcrowded and poorly maintained homes.

But what we do really does make a difference. When we build international multi-racial coalitions, draw the links and challenge land theft and occupation we are a force to be reckoned with. And our message must be clear — without real justice, there can be no damn peace!

Before the march set off, a group of Palestinian dancers took the ‘stage':

Dancers

Dancers

Dancers - another view

Dancers - another view

On the march:

On the march

On the march

Connex again

Connex again

At Federation Square, where the Tamil vigil is in progress:

Tamil vigil at Federation Square

Tamil vigil at Federation Square

Looking down at the combined protests

Looking down at the combined protests

Palm Sunday Peace Rally and March – 5 April

Head of march down Elizabeth Street

Head of march down Elizabeth Street

Last year Palm Sunday fell on 16 March, and the temperature was over 40 degrees; this year the mercury struggled in the high teens, and prayers for rain were perhaps untimely answered. However, there were still many sufficiently committed to the cause of peace and the related issue of abolishing nuclear weapons to make the effort, and the shopping crowds in Elizabeth Street and the Bourke Street Mall were obviously impressed by the message.
This year the rally proper was preceded by an ecumenical service outside the State Library, focussing on the present-day relevance of the original Palm Sunday – the event was sponsored by the Victorian Council of Churches and the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament:

The ecumenical service before the rally and march

The ecumenical service before the rally and march

During the service

During the service

A short break between the service and the rally was the cue for hiphop artists the Ringwood Boiz:

Ringwood Boiz in action

Ringwood Boiz in action

MC for the day was Jessica Morrison of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) (http://www.mapw.org.au/media-profile/ms-jessica-morrison):

Jessica Morrison was MC

Jessica Morrison was MC

Among the speakers she introduced were Reem Yunis from Palestine:

Speaker representing the people of Palestine

Speaker representing the people of Palestine

Rahmat Amiri from Afghanistan:

Speaker representing the people of Afghanistan

Speaker representing the people of Afghanistan

Chip Henriss, Australian Army veteran:

Army veteran condemning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Army veteran condemning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan


(There is a YouTube video of Chip speaking – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vlhJBkUrgY)

Finally, from ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) Dr Ruth Mitchell:

Dr Ruth Mitchell of ICAN

Dr Ruth Mitchell of ICAN


(There is a YouTube video of Dr Mitchell’s speech – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-s4-qZsMb8)

In the crowd there were representatives of Japanese for Peace:

Banner of Japanese for Peace

Banner of Japanese for Peace

A flyer being distributed advertised upcoming events – an Australia-Japan Peace forum on 23 May, and a Peace Concert on 8 August. Details are promised soon on the JfP website: http://www.jfp.or.au, email info [at] jfp.org.au

Also spotted in the crowd:

"Hearts" in the crowd

After the speeches the rally set off along LaTrobe Street:

March in LaTrobe Street

March in LaTrobe Street

MAPW in LaTrobe Street

MAPW in LaTrobe Street

Bringing up the rear in LaTrobe Street

Bringing up the rear in LaTrobe Street

The march ended in the Bourke Street Mall, where Jessica read through a list of current conflicts where people are dying, and members of the rally successively lay down in a symbolic “die-in” as each war was called:

"Die-in" - beginning

"Die-in" - continued



"Die-in" - completed

There is a report with links by Takver on Sydney Indymedia.

More information:
MAPW
ICAN