More than ten thousand people gathered for a pro-Palestine rally in Hyde Park on Saturday, marking the fourth consecutive weekend protest calling for a ceasefire and an end to the genocide of Palestinian people by the Israeli state.
It was organised to oppose Israel’s continuing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, with ambulances, refugee camps, hospitals and schools targeted. This week saw confirmation by Amnesty International that Israel had used white phosphorus on civilians — a war crime.
Lynda June Coe, a Wiradjuri and Badu Island woman and Greens candidate for the Upper House, talked about the need for solidarity and condemned how the “world has lost its humanity”.
“We are the face of the resistance. My people have always said, the way for liberation is the unification of all the Indigenous people.
“For 200 years, my people have faced a genocide that continues to eliminate us in what they call Australia, a liberal democracy,” added June Coe.
Wiradjuri student activist Ethan Lyons, united First Nations struggle from Gadigal to Gaza, and criticised Anothny Albanese, and the Australian government, for their failure to stand with Palestine. Late last week, Australia abstained from a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire.
Lyons stated that “Albanese can say he stands with First Nations people here in Australia all he wants, but if he does not stand with Palestinian people he does not stand with us.”
Palestinian activist, Assala Sayara spoke to the enduring nature of Palestinian resistance, “The death toll has reached more than 10,000 Palestinians amongst those over 3,000 children. We will continue to mourn. And we will continue to grieve.
“But we are never broken.”
Sayara called into question the moral response from the rest of the world, after the death of Gazan children. “What does the world need to see? What does the world need to take action? What does the world need to be reminded that the children of Gaza are equal to any child in this world?
“They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.”
Co-chair of the rally and Palestinian solidarity activist, Josh Lees, spoke to the reality of the Israeli regime.
“Bombs refugee camps, hospitals, ambulances. Cuts off fresh food, water, medical supplies.
“[Israel] tells people to flee and then bombs the roads they need to leave”
Journalist and the author of The Palestine Laboratory, Antony Loewenstein commended the Jewish community in solidarity with Palestine saying “not in my name.”
He asked the journalists to do better as “in the last few weeks, the media class has spent so much time demonising Palestinians, demonising those in Gaza, and using outrageous slurs against millions of Palestinians.”
Mohamed Kamel Zorob, an activist from Gaza, talked about the need for a right to return.
“The last time I visited my beloved Gaza was in 1997. Because since the siege, I cannot visit my native indigenous land because they [Israeli state] fear my return and they have every right to fear my return, and that of 7.5 million other Palestinian refugees.”
The protesters marched in a loop from Hyde Park to around the CBD despite the rain.
During the march, protestors chanted “Ceasefire Now”, “Gaza, Gaza don’t you cry” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” There was a heavy police presence at the protest, with two police helicopters circulating throughout the speeches.
It follows other protests across the world calling for a ceasefire in the region.