NSW Police attempt to censor pro-Palestine protest

The NSW Police is applying to the Supreme Court of NSW to prohibit a peaceful protest by Palestine solidarity activists. The protest is being held on from 5:30pm on Thursday 21st of August outside the opening of the Israeli Film Festival.

"This is an outrageous act of political censorship" says Damian Ridgwell, one of the founding members of the Palestine Action Group. "The organisers of the Israeli Film Festival have vocally campaigned in support of Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. Just as people campaigned against South African sporting teams in protest to Apartheid, today we campaign for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel. It is legitimate to protest the event, and by attempting to ban the protest the NSW police is denying our freedom of expression and right to protest."

Protest organisers dispute the NSW Police's reasoning for banning the rally. "The Supreme Court has ruled in similar circumstances that 'disruption' of traffic is not a sufficient excuse to scrap the right to protest" says Damian Ridgwell. "As the ruling says, 'Public facilities are to be shared. It is of the nature of a protest that others will be affected and that their routines will be, at least ephemerally, interrupted.'"

"This is not the first time that the NSW Police has attempted to ban pro-Palestine protest" says Patrick Langosch, activist with the Palestine Action Group. "In 2012 the NSW Police attempted to ban the annual Al-Nakba commemorative march. There is a pattern of the police trying to deny political freedoms to people who are involved in pro-Palestine activism."

"We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the right to protest. We will not be intimidated by the NSW Police, we will continue to stand up against Israel's genocide of the Palestinians," says Damian Ridgwell"

"While Israel continues to occupy and oppress the Palestinians, and especially after the recent onslaught on Gaza, all people of humanity should boycott Israel, including its cultural events, until it abides by international human rights," says Vivienne Porzsolt, member of Jews Against the Occupation.

"The Israeli Film Festival is organised by the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange. The AICE is a organisation that vocally supports Israel's dispossession of the Palestinians," says Ophelia Haragli, a Palestine solidarity activist. "The chairman of AICE, Albert Dadon, has published statements on their website opposing Palestinian statehood, and opposing the BDS campaign." [http://www.aice.com.au/politics.php]

"The Israeli Film Festival is being targeted in line with the call by Palestinian civil society for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel until they end their apartheid policies."

The case is listed for hearing at the NSW Supreme Court on Monday 18th of August at 10:00am.

The protest against the Israeli Film Festival is scheduled for 5:30pm to 8:00pm on Thursday 21st of August at Palace Verona Cinemas, 17 Oxford St, Paddington.

Everyone has to come to support the right to protest. This isn't only an attack to us, is also an attack to the Gaza resistance and the world Solidarity with Palestine. We have seen what has been happening with our protests. Probably under pressure from the zionists and its allies, the Murdoch press and the liberal governments, state and federal and their own issues, the NSW police has been getting nastier and putting troubles to many of our initiatives. Now seems that the zionist lobby is very upset because they need the festival to probe that life in Palestine is "normal" and we are saying that nothing is normal, the brutal attack on Gaza that have killed almost 2000 Palestinians, included more than 400 children, still is on and none have the right to forget about this.

Raul Bassi

i am quite relaxed in adding my name to the call to stand against police actions and tactics to attempt to subvert our right as citizens of this state, regardless of our ethnicity, politics or religion, to protest against what we see as a great injustice against the people in gaza and elsewhere by the zionist government in isreal and their pervasive zionist lobby groups here in sydney and around the country.

more and more we see the governments and their protectors, the relevant police forces, taking a much harder line against our alleged democratic right to protest peacefully for what we believe in. are we to be met by a militarised phalanx of 'bully-boys' (and women) to assist the all-powerfull jewish lobby in spreading their own biased brand of propaganda?

the courts on countless occassions have counselled the police, and by extension their governments, that regardless of their iron-cast opinions they do not have the right to stop legitimate and peaceful protests from occurring. we are a multicultural society living on stolen aboriginal lands. we have a duty of care to not only allow other thoughts to be put but to enhance their opportunity to do so. conversely however we also have a duty of care to allow and enhance those voices against and for all protests to be made peacefully.

a democracy allows for many disparate opinions to be put and heard and to allow for voices of opposition. that is how we learn, grow and survive by the interactions of all and not just the fascist directions from governments, their police and ultra-right power groups. it is to our extreme good fortune that we at least have a veneer of justice from time to time from some in our courts to oppose these government-led 'diktats.'

isja too will be squarely in the line of fire from the nsw police as we approach the 14 february, 2015. i remind all of what commander luke freudenstein of the redfern police station vehemently declared on 14 february this year, "there will be no more hickey marches." a command decision for a command performance perhaps but i, and many others, say back to the commander,"we will march! regardless!

i fully endorse and support the rights of the palestinians.


ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

prix des droits de l'homme de la republique fraincaise 2013
(french human rights medal 2013)

1303/200 pitt street, waterloo. 2017
61 2 9318 0947
0450 651 063

we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people