Chloé is a Journalism Student with an interest in politics, criminology and the environment. Chloé loves news, memes and drinking coffee.
Protesters gathered in Sydney at the Protest for Palestine on Tuesday to commemorate 70 years of Al Nakba, ‘the catastrophe’.
The protests, held on an international scale, paid homage to the Palestinian exodus in 1948 when over 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes and made refugees.
Sara Saleh, a young Palestinian activist and speaker at the rally, said: “[The protests] are as critical today as ever, for us to commemorate the Nakba as generations have done before us and as generations will do after us.”
“Israel continues to try to colonise our narratives, silence witnesses, block human rights organisations, convict poets, rewrite public memory… this honouring of Nakba is part of our resistance, and we need the world to join in.”
The rally this year was not only to honour Al Nakba, but also to protest continued conflict and apartheid in Palestine.
It was reported Israeli forces killed more than 50 Palestinian protesters in Gaza on Monday as they participated in their own Nakba events.
It was the deadliest day of violence since a war in 2014.
Damien Ridgewell, from the Palestine Action Group Sydney, said: “Today’s Al Nakbar commemoration rally condemn[s] the massacre of protesters by the Israeli military.
Amnesty international Australia posted on Twitter on Tuesday urging the Australian Government, specifically Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, to make a comment about the tragic events in Gaza this week.
We call on Foreign Minister @JulieBishopMP to condemn the Israeli military’s excessive use of force in the strongest terms possible & for Australia to use its diplomatic powers to ensure a successful UN resolution calling for a full investigation. #Gaza #Nakba2018— Amnesty International Australia 🕯 (@amnestyOz) May 15, 2018
Greens MP, David Shoebridge, expressed the importance of Australia’s support for Palestine, and condemned the government's approach to the events in Gaza saying: “It is essential and necessary to fight for the freedom of the Palestinian people.”
Thousands of Palestinians fled to Australia following the exodus, and there are today approximately 9107 Australian-born Palestinians residing here.
Nasr Plo (23), whose grandparents fled Palestine following the first Nakba, attended the rally to support his heritage.
“Resistance of Palestinians should not be considered terrorism in Israel, and my people should not be persecuted for wanting to go home… no single human being should be kicked out of their home or be put in a cage like Gaza.”
“It feels awesome seeing people, and not only of Palestinian heritage, holding our flag and chanting ‘free free Palestine’, even though it doesn’t directly affect them. This is how change happens.”