Video: Police attack Palestinian solidarity protest in Melbourne

The Victoria police have viciously attacked a peaceful pro-Palestine demonstration in Melbourne's CBD on Friday July 1st. In the largest political arrest in a decade, nineteen protesters were arrested during the action against Israeli-owned Max Brenner store.

Related: Australian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign Blog| Australians for Palestine: Boycott Max Brenner chocolates| Defend the Max Brenner 19 meeting July 5th

The chocolateria in the Queen Victoria Shopping Centre is owned by the Israeli conglomerate 'Strauss group'; a company that provides "care rations" for one of the most brutal sections of the Israeli military, the Golani brigades. The protest occurred as part of the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the apartheid Israeli state.

The peaceful picket with over 100 protesters was 'kettled' before leading activists were individually targeted, in what seems to be a new tactic from Ballieu's riot squad according to the following Youtube report.

Commentary and video Uploaded to youtube by MrBum37 on Jul 1, 2011

Video uploaded to youtube by IjenoTakirin on July 2, 2011

Photo courtesy of Socialist Alternative



A google news search for this demo shows that as of Saturday night only the Herald Sun and Sky news were covering the demo at all. However these two sources contained the police lie that the "protest had turned violent when protesters refused to move". What the footage actually shows is a static non-violent picket being violently attacked by police.

In addition it is interestiing to note the articles states "offences including trespassing, besetting a premises and assaulting police." Aside from the fact that charging people with assault is classic police tactic to cover up the fact they have assaulted people - it is very concerning the police have wheeled out tthe archaic anti-union "besetting law" against this community protest.

Factually, nobody has been charged with assaulting police. But thanks for the otherwise great coverage.


The Victoria police have viciously attacked a peaceful pro- Palestine demonstration in Melbourne’s CBD this evening. In the largest political arrest in a decade, twenty protesters were arrested during the action against Israeli-owned Max Brenner store. The... chocolateria in the Queen Victoria mall is owned by the Israeli conglomerate ‘Strauss group’; a company that provides “care rations” for one of the most brutal sections of the Israeli military, the Golani brigades. The protest occurred as part of the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the apartheid Israeli state. The peaceful picket was ‘kettled’ before leading activists were individually targeted, in what seems to be a new tactic from Ballieu’s riot squad.

Civil liberties lawyer Rob Stary said "Tonight's arrests show the new Victorian government is prepared to criminalise legitimate dissent."

Demonstrators maintain that the offensive by the police was entirely unprovoked. Melbourne University student Abdul Aziz described the scene: “I was horrified by the police’s unprovoked behaviour. All we were doing was speaking out against a corporation which boasts about their support for one of the most brutal militaries in the world. Then they just started grabbing people around the neck and dragging them away.”

Coalition against Israeli Apartheid member Omar Hassan, one of the arrestees, remains defiant. “The aim of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is to draw attention to the racist and militaristic policies of the apartheid state of Israel. It came as no surprise to me that the Police would use violence against critics of Israel. Pro-Palestine activists face serious repression around the world, just last year the Israeli navy murdered nine activists on the Mavi Mamara peace ship.” Protesters vow to return on the 29th July.

Victoria police viciously attacked a peaceful pro-Palestine demonstration in Melbourne on Friday night. In one of the most violent displays in years, around 20 people were arrested and later charged with various offences ranging from trespass and riotous behaviour to resisting arrest.

Scores more suffered bruising and one protester had his shoulder dislocated after up to 100 police officers surrounded the demonstration and repeatedly charged at and picked-off participants.

The event, called by Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, was protesting against Israeli-owned Max Brenner chocolateria in the QV shopping centre. Max Brenner is owned by the Israeli conglomerate the Strauss Group, a company that has a long and sordid history of giving explicit support to the Israeli military – including during their 2008/09 massacre in Gaza.

The non-violent demonstration was 150-200 strong. Salem Nasser, one of the organisers, described the scene:

We were peacefully gathered in the QV courtyard. People were making speeches about the daily attacks that Palestinians endure; the apartheid nature of the Israeli state; the ongoing ethnic cleansing; the hundreds and thousands who are languishing as political prisoners in Israeli jails; and score who are killed every month at the hands of the IDF.

All of a sudden some special operations type group rushed into the area and split the demonstration in two. They began by targeting the people with megaphones and pushing people to the ground. They were calculated in their approach.

My section of the demonstration was pushed by maybe 40 cops – they drove us into the ground and then surrounded us. We sat and linked arms, refusing to move any further. A number were then arrested as the cops picked off people on the outside of the group and dragged them away.

We stayed for around an hour, before deciding that we should move off as a group and meet up with the others. We were bruised and a little battered, but not cowed. Our victory was in resisting the violence and refusing to be intimidated.

Warning signs were all around QV – and also Melbourne Central shopping centre, the site of previous demonstrations that successfully shut down the Israeli-owned Jericho/Black Pearl cosmetics company – stating that “people who propose to demonstrate disapproval of the political or social interests of a retail tenant” would be prohibited from entering.

But the police attack was completely unprovoked and is an indication that Victoria Police and the Baillieu state government are intent on cracking down on the democratic right to protest.

On one hand, the viciousness of the police response is connected to the law and order campaign that both parties were running in the lead up to last November’s state election. On the other, it is testament to the strength of the campaign that the authorities are so intent to see it shut down.

Around the country, there have been numerous successful actions against Israeli companies – and the protests have grown in size this year.

But no matter how heavy handed the police get, they will not succeed in stopping the demonstrations against apartheid. The justice for Palestine campaign is global – and growing; Melbourne participants vowed to return and continue to show solidarity. The struggle will only end with the fall of apartheid.

Everything you've tagged as socialist alliance is actually socialist alternative :)

Good on the police.. We don't need this kind of behaviour in this country for no reason.

There is no apartheid in Israel. Why do you think Israeli Arabs don't want to go back to their own countries?

Israel is the only beacon of light in the ME where everyone is free, they have a free education and medical system. All races and nationalities are treated equally.

Israel and South Africa are being associated as a result of uranium mining.

The cognitive dissonance of someone making the claim protesters there were better off than elsewhere to excuse inappropriate violence against protesters here speaks for itself.

Nobody begrudges the dialectical donkeys the right the protest. What we do begrudge is their belief that they can get away with rank intimidation with impunity. As a former anti-apartheid demonstrator who got locked up for his convictions I find the association of apartheid with Israel an abhorrent and unjustifiable ploy. Lucky that chocolate is a sweet resistant substance that easily repels misguided thinking.

Do you accept the ICC definition of apartheid as ratified by the parliament of this country?

Since its inception in 1994, the newly constituted Palestinian Authority, created by the PLO, has prepared the rudiments of a Palestinian State, modeled on the rules of Apartheid and institutionalized discrimination:

1. The right of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents to return to Arab villages lost in 1948 will be protected by the new Palestinian state.

2. While 20% of Israel’s citizens are Arabs, not one Jew will be allowed to live in a Palestinian State

3. Anyone who sells land to a Jew will be liable to the death penalty in the Palestinian State

4. Those who murder Jews are honored on all official Palestinian media outlets.

5. Palestinian Authority maps prepared for the Palestinian State depict all of Palestine under Palestinian rule

6. PA maps of Jerusalem for the Palestinian State once again delete the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem

7. Recent PA documents claim all of Jerusalem for the future Palestinian State.

8. The right of Jewish access to Jewish holy places is to be denied in the new Palestinian State.

9. The Draft Palestinian State Constitution denies juridical status to any religion except for Islam.

10. No system which protects human rights or civil liberties will exist in a Palestinian State

This is real Apartheid.

On the other hand the Arab minority in Israel are full citizens with voting rights and representation in the government. Under apartheid black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they are the overwhelming majority of the population. Arabs in Israel win beauty contests, play in Israeli football teams and become judges.

That does not answer the question but only shift the blame. If the choice isn´t apartheid or not apartheid, but Israeli apartheid or Palestinian apartheid, Palestinian apartheid could be the lesser evil because it is less armed.

and they wonder why people refer to them as pigs.

And to the demonstrators as donkeys.

get your facts right before you go around calling these cops pigs. they are doing their job against the real pigs, these disgusting palestinian demonstrators...its amazing how this story against israel barely got any news and yet a women who was asked to remove her burka is frontpage news, and this way in which this article is written oozes ignorance and dishonest reporting

The simple unavoidable fact is..the shopping centre is PRIVATE you were not lawfully there... I cannot imagine you had a police permit as WE DID for our Fed Square demo where the rent-a-socialist ratbag crowd VICIOUSLY ATTACKED US... and you now whine about police simply doing their duty ? All praise to the POLICE from the ADL and just remember one thing...the NEXT time one of you bottom feeding scum attacks ME.. I'll be sure to take the policeman's number who manhandles you away so I can charge you with assault and every other thing in the book I can make work.

If you were hoping to get any public sympathy? *fail* in fact *megafail* because the general populace see's you for what you are.. terrorists and extremists.
You all got what you deserve and if I have anything to do with it.. it will be all down hill for you from here.. come join our debate on Aussies against the Australian Defense league on facebook.. and we can have a nice chat.
John Sobieski

Mecca is private property too... off limits to medieval warlords and their modern namesakes amongst others...