Sydney, Australia, Nov 12 (EFE).- Thousands of people once again marched in several cities across Australia on Sunday to demand a ceasefire in Gaza while other separate demonstrations called for the release of Israelis taken hostage by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack in Israel.
Protesters take part in a Pro-Palestinian demonstration in King George Square in Brisbane, Australia, 12 November 2023. EFE-EPA/DARREN ENGLAND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
In Melbourne, the country’s second most populated city, thousands gathered at the steps of the State Library of Victoria and marched towards Parliament to urge an immediate ceasefire and end to Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Protestors take part in a Pro-Palestinian demonstration in King George Square in Brisbane, Australia, 12 November 2023. EFE-EPA/DARREN ENGLAND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Several indigenous, cultural and political figures joined the protest, including the leader of the Victorian Greens party, Samantha Ratnam, who described the Israeli offensives as “collective punishment.”
Participants attend a Pro-Palestinian demonstration at Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia, 12 November 2023. EFE-EPA/FLAVIO BRANCALEONE AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
“The humanitarian catastrophe is beyond our comprehension,” she said, adding that civilians in Gaza were “ultimately paying the ultimate, brutal price of war,” public broadcaster ABC reported.
This is the fifth consecutive weekend that pro-Palestinian rallies have been staged in Australia since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas, following the attack on Israeli territory by the Islamist group on Oct .7 and Israel’s retaliatory bombing campaign.
Protesters also marched in Sydney in support of the Palestinians chanting slogans and holding banners that read “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Ceasefire NOW!” and waving Palestinian flags, according to photographs posted on social media.
About 1,000 pro-Israel protesters also held a vigil and rallies to urge Hamas to release the Israeli hostages in addition to calling for an end to anti-Semitism around the world.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Sunday urged Israel to comply with international law and called for “civilians, hospitals in Gaza to be protected”, but stopped short of calling for a halt to the fighting.
“We all want to take the next steps towards a ceasefire but it cannot be one-sided,” the minister said in a video posted on X (formerly Twitter).
“We have seen a harrowing number of civilians, including children, killed. This has to end,” she stressed. EFE