Over the weekend, mass protests were again held across Australia in opposition to Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians. Though the nationwide rallies involved more than 50,000 people, they received hardly any coverage in the official press.
Below the WSWS is featuring further interviews with participants, following our coverage Monday.
In Sydney, where some 10,000 took to the streets on Sunday, Mohammed, originally from Gaza, said, “I’ve lost nearly 45 members of my family there. Most of their houses are destroyed, and whoever is left are homeless. So it’s very close to my heart. There’s no internet, no freaking thing, so you just keep texting your family, hoping they are OK.
“It’s basically a concentration camp. I’m the lucky one who kind of escaped that prison and came here.”
Mohammed recalled a story from a friend in Nablus, whose nine-year-old cousin was taken into prison: “The kid was playing with his bicycle in the front yard of his house. Then the military forces declared, ‘there’s a curfew, no one is allowed to move.’ An Israeli jeep came, took the kid’s bicycle and threw it in the jeep. Out of frustration the kid threw a rock at the jeep. He was sentenced to five years for throwing the rock, five years for resisting arrest and five years for threatening a soldier’s life.”
“The ‘pause’ won’t help anything. 40 percent of the houses in Gaza are destroyed. There’s 300,000 people still in the north of Gaza, with no access to food, water or anything. The only hospital that was working was bombed and destroyed by the Israeli forces.
“Israeli officials said, ‘we’re going to destroy it and level it to the ground.’ One of the congressmen in the United States said, ‘we’re going to make it a parking lot.’ If that’s not genocide, I don’t know what it is.”
Of imperialist governments worldwide, including Labor in Australia, which have lined up behind Israel’s genocide, he said, “it’s absolutely disgusting. They’re all hypocrites. How can you preach about ‘international law’ or ‘human rights’ if you can’t apply it with the most obvious documented genocide in recent history?”
Asked what he thought of campaigns to petition the Albanese government, he said, “I don’t think he’ll even look at it. Everyone knows what’s happening, but they choose not to stop the massacres, the continuous slaughter of these kids.
“I think the whole capitalist system has shown its true face through this. What they care about is money, rather than caring about human lives.”
Annie said: “I’m here to protest the genocide in Gaza. It is murder before our eyes. We have to stop them. Already 6,000 children have lost their lives. This can’t go on. It’s been fifty days. We have lost our humanity.
“This ‘truce’ is the calm before the hurricane. What we’ve seen before is just a prelude to when they get going before. A ‘truce’ or a ‘pause’ is a joke. You can’t ‘pause’ murdering children, and women and the elderly.
“I want to ask the Australian government, ‘You’ve seen these Israeli ministers and officials go on television, and say in words that they’re going to commit a genocide, why shouldn’t they be taken to court, to The Hague? Why are you treating it like it is no big deal.’ Instead, the government and the media are all excited about a slogan, ‘From the river to the sea,’ which was actually started by Israel and which they’re trying to carry out now by expelling the Palestinians from Gaza.
“But I’m not surprised that the Australian government is supporting this crime, because look what they did in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Dell, an administrative worker, stated: “I am here to support the Palestinians. I have been following it for a couple of years and it is an apartheid. What Hamas did is inexcusable, but for Israel to say they’re defending themselves is nonsense. The death toll is horrific. People are getting more and more desperate. The Palestinians can’t live and accept the situation.
“I’m tired of organisations like the United Nations just sitting back and letting it all go on. It is not good enough. I’m not surprised Labor is the same as the Liberals. I haven’t voted for Labor for decades because they’ve abandoned their true values.
“You can’t just keep supporting the rich and the right-wing people who currently control the world. Business as usual can’t go on. Ordinary people need their rights back and that includes the Palestinians.
“People must start waking up. You can't buy a house; you can't put a roof over your head. I was houseless for four years until I got community housing. But I couldn't get my life on track until that happened. People are reaching breaking point everywhere you look, and ordinary people are more and more marginalised. Everything is going to the rich.”
“The rich have just taken everything, they don’t pay any taxes, they give themselves ridiculous bonuses, everything that unionists of the past worked so hard to achieve has been just taken away from us.”
Dell said, “the trade unions aren't doing anything,” to oppose the Gaza genocide or to improve the social conditions workers. “They need to go back to their roots. It’s about time they started doing that or they can just fold up and shut their doors because what’s the point of them?”
She was aware of the recent dispute involving US auto workers, and was interested in the struggle that has been taken up there to form rank-and-file committees independent of the corporatised union bureaucracy.