A group of students gathered outside of one of Max Brenner's franchise cafes in Sydney in protest at its support for the Israeli army. The protest is part of the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS campaign, which was called from a broad cross-section of Palestinian civil society organisations in 2005.
Max Brenner is a chocolate retailer owned by the Strauss Group, which is the second largest Israeli food and beverage company and is largely touted as one of the greatest successes of Israeli industry.
On its website in the section on "Corporate Responsibility," the Strauss Group emphasises its support for the Israeli army, noting: "Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments".
Report from Press TV via YoutubeMax Brenner has been the target of BDS actions throughout Australia for over two years. Protesters here say that this action is part of their commitment to the global BDS campaign which seeks to pressure companies that either profit from or support the Israeli military occupation until Israel ends the occupation and complies with international law and United Nations resolutions.
Early in the protest the police officers present tightened their control over the students movements. A number of police officers asked our crew to leave on a number of occasions, forcing us to stop filming and physically removing our crew away from the protest.
The students marched on chanting anti-Apartheid messages. The police officers then attempted to disperse the crowd and put an end to the protest. The police then used force to disperse the protesters, beating a number of students. Two students were charged with hindering police and their trials set for July 13.
The students have vowed to continue protesting outside of the ten Max Brenner cafes throughout Sydney, saying it is their legal right. They also criticized the police's role in protecting a company that openly supports an illegal military occupation while at the same time using violence against a peaceful student protest - Sat Jun 11, 2011.