Pro-Palestine port protests warned not to disrupt trade

November 7, 2023 by AAP
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Protesters planning to rally against the arrival in Sydney of an Israeli shipping company are being warned there are consequences for disrupting lawful trade while in Melbourne protestors block a road at Flemington.

Zim San Francisco

Palestine supporters plan to rally at Port Botany on Saturday to protest shipping line ZIM, the oldest and largest shipping company in Israel.

The company’s vessels have faced “block the boat protests” in ports around the world as pro-Palestine supporters campaign against civilian deaths in Gaza.

Israeli forces have bombarded the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after a bloody incursion on October 7 by the group listed as a terrorist organisation by the Australian government.

Palestine Justice Movement Sydney organisers said business as usual could not continue.

“(ZIM) is a major transporter of armaments,” representative Ahmed Abadla said.

“It isn’t welcome in Port Botany or anywhere people stand against genocide and war crimes.”

NSW Premier Chris Minns said it was “ridiculous” to suggest Australian trade would be stopped because of the personal preferences of individual protesters.

Pro-palestine protesters block a road outside the Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day in Melbourne, Tuesday, November 7, 2023. (AAP Image/Con Chronis)

He warned protesters were not permitted to block maritime trade in NSW.

“Peaceful protest is allowed in NSW (and) if you want to do that, there’s no problems with it, but you can’t breach a few basic principles,” Mr Minns told 2GB Sydney on Tuesday.

“You can’t stop trade, you can’t stop commerce from other business entities in the state and you can’t preach hate on Sydney streets.

“If it tips into hate speech or racial vilification, the police have shown that they will arrest people and charge them with these offences.”

The port protest, due to take place on Remembrance Day, has been endorsed by multiple trade union groups.

Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul Keating said the trade group had a history of opposing colonialism, occupation and genocide.

“(Our branch) believes ‘peace is union business’ and will always fight alongside those in our global community who are facing genocide, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes no matter how many in our society choose to ignore it,” he said.

“We demand an urgent ceasefire and an end to the more than decades-long siege and blockade of Gaza and a political solution for Palestinian justice.”

Ahead of the Melbourne Cup race, two pro-Palestine protesters were pepper sprayed and one arrested outside Flemington Racecourse.

Victoria Police said about 100 people staged a protest near the racecourse, causing traffic disruptions at an important intersection.

Zeddy Lawrence, executive director of Zionism Victoria, told J-Wire: Of course, we take exception to those who effectively condone the barbaric terrorism we witnessed last month or effectively call for the annihilation of the State of Israel. 

Those demonstrating at Flemington clearly don’t care about the big race, and seemingly don’t care about the Jewish race either. 
But beyond that, however misguided, malicious or misinformed one may be, it is one thing to protest peacefully. To do so though in a disruptive or violent manner threatens the fragile fabric of Melbourne’s multicultural society.”

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