Friday, Mar 30 2012 / Press TV – (Sydney) A protest took place in Sydney as part of the global day of action in support of international activists attempting to enter Jerusalem/Al Quds which remains a closed city. The Global March to al-Quds is an international peaceful movement that also condemns the Israeli occupation of the holy Palestinian city.
A protest took place in Sydney on Friday in solidarity with international activists that are taking part in the Global March to Jerusalem al-Quds, or GMJ.
The GMJ was organized to coincide with Palestinian Land Day on March 30. The GMJ is an international event, bringing activists from around the globe who will attempt to peacefully March to Jerusalem al-Quds and demand that the city becomes an open city and that the Israeli occupying forces put an end to what they call the apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people and land of Jerusalem al-Quds. Same protest were taking place in cities all around the world in support of the GMJ.
The protesters marched to one of the Israeli owned franchise cafes, Max Brenner which has been the target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, or BDS protests across the country. Max Brenner is 100% owned by an Israeli company, the Strauss Group, one of Israel’s largest food and beverage companies. The Strauss Group boasts of the support it gives to the Israeli army saying it wants to “sweeten their special moment”, particularly the Golani and Givati brigades of the Israeli Occupation Forces. While this content has been removed from the Strauss Group’s English website, it can be found on the Hebrew version of the site.
Both the Sydney and Melbourne branches of Students for Justice in Palestine say they have been the targets of a very heavy-handed approach by the police who arrested 19 people in Melbourne and 2 in Sydney. According to organisers, the Victorian police, violently attacked a Max Brenner protest on July 1, 2011, and arrested 19 people, known as the Boycott Israel 19, in what was one of the largest political arrests in a decade.
Protesters say they were also the targets of slander in the mainstream press. A media inquiry by the Australian Press Council in November last year, found that articles published in the Australian newspaper relating to boycott Israel protests, were in breach of the council’s standards of practice. A number of articles published for the paper portrayed the BDS campaign as anti-Semitic which angered BDS activists who say it was as an inaccurate portrayal of their campaign which they say is aimed at pressuring Israel to comply with international law and end its human rights abuses. Politicians and other high profile people in Australia have also publicly condemned the protests and likened the protesters to Nazis, some of them even organised ‘sit-ins’ at the cafe together, to show their opposition to the protests. Organisers say they will not be intimidated by the neither the police brutality nor the slander from the press and politicians and say they will not be silenced in their opposition to Israel’s crimes.
Protesters expressed the need to maintain the BDS campaign in Australia saying that like the boycott of South Africa, the campaign is an important tool to pressure Israel to comply with international law and end its war crimes against the Palestinian people. They say boycotts become necessary when governments like Australia do nothing to stop Israel’s crimes adding that BDS is about ordinary people exercising the power that is theirs.