An estimated 50,000 protestors have marched through Sydney in the latest demonstration yet in support of the pro-Palestinian cause.
Thousands rallied in Sydney to show their solidarity with Palestine amid Israel’s continued bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Australians from various backgrounds and identities gathered in Hyde Park yesterday, protesting against the international community’s inaction in protecting Palestinian civilians.
Speakers including organiser Assala Sayara, Wiradjuri activist Ethan Lyon and Vivienne Porzsolt from Jews Against the Occupation delivered speeches to an impassioned crowd at the protest.
Since Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel on October 7, Israel has cut off the supply of water, electricity, fuel, and restricted food to Gazan civilians. This, in addition to the 12,000 tons of explosives dropped on the Gaza strip in three weeks, which has killed over 7,000 Palestinians has led to a “dire” humanitarian crisis, according to António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Feelings of frustration with the Australian government’s failure to speak out against the mounting civilian death toll has mobilised Sydneysiders, with rallies growing in size each week from 5,000 two weeks ago and 15,000 last week. Australia’s decision to abstain from the United Nations resolution for a ceasefire was also heavily criticised.
Supporters at the protest chanted: “Free Palestine” and “Albanese, you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide”.
Ms Porzsolt, lamenting the magnitude of Israel’s retaliation, said: “I feel incredible horror at the actions of the Zionist Jews in my name as a Jew, after our history. How can we, how can Zionists, after all of that, consider cutting water, cutting food, cutting fuel?
“There are many Jews, more and more around the world, young Jews [protesting]. Here in Sydney, we have a new organisation of younger Jews bringing a whole fresh outlook and activism and spirit to to this struggle for justice. And so we are joining you in our shared struggle and worldwide. This is going to happen.
“I feel a strange optimism at this time. Our friend Karl Marx said history proceeds on the bad side and this is a deeply horrible time. But we must unite and struggle and defend our Palestinian comrades and we will win. We are on the right side of history.”
Both Jewish and Indigenous groups were prominent among the pro-Palestinian protesters.
As an Indigenous activist, Mr Lyon condemned the “Israeli settler state”.
“I’m a proud Wiradjuri activist and member of the Black Caucus. We’re a grassroots First Nations collective in Sydney,” he added. “I want to acknowledge that these Gadigal lands have been a place of story, kinship and culture, but it also has been a place of resistance, struggle and liberation.
“Black and Palestinian solidarity and our joint condemnation of the Israeli settler state has been heavily criticised by Zionists and the media.
“People in Sydney, from Gadigal to Gaza, from Wiradjuri to the West Bank, from the grassroots struggle of Redfern all the way to Ramallah and the surrounding regions. From our invasion day to your Nakba, Palestine will be free. Gadigal will be free. Indigenous people will be free.”
Another speaker condemned Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, saying: “These are not military bases. They are homes. They are schools. They are universities, and they are hospitals.”
Israel has so far rejected calls for a ceasefire, saying it was tantamount to surrendering to Hamas.
Main image by Zaryab Ahmad.