Rallies were again held across Australia this weekend against the Israeli regime’s genocide in Gaza. It was the largest turnout since the war began a month ago. As part of a wave of global protests, tens of thousands of workers and youth took to the streets in the main cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and the regional city of Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney.
Participants condemned the Albanese Labor government’s and media establishment’s support for the Israeli crimes, demanding an immediate ceasefire. There is mounting hostility to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s pro-Israeli bias, with the 7,000-strong rally in Brisbane protesting in front of that city’s ABC offices. The ABC management responded by blacking out the protests.
This is in line with the role of the corporate media in Australia and internationally. The weekend’s protests have been buried or not reported on at all. Below the WSWS is featuring further interviews with protest participants, following our coverage yesterday.
At the Melbourne rally, the WSWS spoke to Bianca, who is preparing for tertiary studies in community services. “I think the Albanese government’s role is disgusting,” she said. “Australia was founded on genocide, so it’s not really a surprise that we’re condoning it and funding it. The more noise that we make, hopefully we can make a difference.”
She added: “Protesting is definitely not the only thing we should be doing. The situation in Palestine is a part of a much bigger issue—imperialism, capitalism. It is all forms of oppression that continue to thrive. In order to end all forms of oppression you have to be anti-capitalist; you have to be anti-imperialist. Australia has its own imperialist endeavours.
“The gravity of the situation—in terms of the situation with the working class—is only going to get worse, and people will take note of this. It is only a matter of time before we see more and more people condemning what is going on.
“The more protests, the more industrial action that is occurring, once the ball starts rolling, everything will keep moving and I think we are going to see more of that. This is not idealistic. Socialism is not idealistic at all. I see it as a natural evolution of events. It’s going to happen, we just need to get there.”
Rona, a 25-year-old personal trainer, said: “I’m here because in Palestine, they are our brothers and sisters, and they are going through a terrible genocide. It is important to support them, and for everyone just use your voice if you have a platform.
“Australia is supporting Israel because it is an ally with the US. Here and in America, the economy is really bad. Everyone is struggling with inflation, but governments have billions of dollars to give to Israel for things that aren’t even necessary, not even hospitals, it’s for weaponry.”
Torrent, who works in financial services, explained why he joined the demonstration. “I’m a human and I can’t keep on watching what’s on the television news every day,” he said. “It’s too shocking for me and too upsetting.
“I couldn’t not be here—it’s the least I could do. I’m glad that I am not the only one, because I felt like that for a very long time. It’s nice to see so many people here, and all different kinds of people.
“Most of us now get our media online, and that can’t be censored like it used to be. Censored like they do on the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation], which to me is quite shocking. The ABC has now been toeing the whole official story, and it is shocking how biased they are. I think people just look online and that’s why they’re here, they see the real truth. It can’t be hidden anymore.”
In Sydney, Celia, an architecture student, explained: “I was looking at [Prime Minister Anthony] Albanese’s twitter feed over the past couple of weeks. All he had to say was that freedom, peace and equality are core Australian and American values and that they are at the heart of our alliance with the USA.
“I was quite frankly shaking in my boots with anger when I saw that because if you have a basic understanding of history and American involvement in wars across the world you know that they have never fought for freedom, equality or peace for that matter. I’m not surprised that we would support American funding of war in Palestine considering we followed them into war in the Middle East after 9/11.
“They are talking about proportionate response, but fundamentally the US went to war in the Middle East and killed four million civilians in the wake of 9/11 and Australia followed them into that war, and we are doing the same thing here. We are following our major ally around the world and letting them fund whatever genocide they please and supporting it publicly. I think it is shameful from our government.
“I think it is interesting the way you see the different coverage on the war in Ukraine and the war in Palestine,” Celia commented. Unlike the Ukraine war, “they dehumanise the Palestinian refugees. I am a little bit shocked that Albanese immediately fell in line with the US State Department and their support for genocide. I don’t know why I expected a bit more from a Labor leader, but I don’t think the Labor Party has socialist values at heart.”
In Newcastle, the WSWS reporting team collected a number of video interviews, posted below.