Al Nakba ‘Free Palestine’ rally in Sydney Special
Al Nakba Day is marked each year on 15 May, to mark what the Palestinians regard as a ‘catastrophe’ when they were dispossessed of their homeland after the formation of the nation state Israel on 14 May 1948.
At 6pm on Tuesday, 15 May 2012, an Al Nakba Free Palestine rally was held outside Sydney Town Hall.
Several speakers spoke at the rally.
Ophelia, one of the main speakers said: “We will not be bullied. We will not be terrorized. We will not give up on our consciences. And we will never again accept that Israel be a law unto itself that oppresses, injures and brutally murders an innocent people.
“Today is the day that marks the victory within this catastrophe and that victory is the victory of conviction. It is the conviction of truth and right that affect the Palestinian people, heroically steadfast in their resistance. Their spirit; their will to fight and not to die, to rise up, time and time again against their occupiers. And it is this conviction of truth and right that we, amongst millions across the world, respect, support and stand in solidarity with.
“Today we send a clear message to Israel and our government and we tell them: “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians.””
Ophelia went on to say “The profit Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny says, “If you see an injustice or an evil doing, oppose it with your hand. If you cannot, then oppose it with your tongue, and if you cannot, then oppose it with your heart. But this is the weakest of faith option. We don’t have the first option, but we certainly will not choose the weakest of faith option. We will oppose it with our tongue.”
A Palestinian student activist spoke about the history of Al Nakba, “Today marks sixty-four years since Al Nakba or the catastrophe. Sixty-four years since the state of Israel was established, following the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians of their life, land and homes, following mass deportations, massacres and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages."
At about 7pm, after the speakers had finished speaking at the gathering outside Sydney Town Hall, one of the organisers announced that they had been allowed to march down George Street, through Pitt Street Mall and back again.
“Alright everybody, yesterday, in court, we won the right to march – and that is what we are about to do. When I finish up here, we are going to be marching down George Street, down through the Pitt Street Mall and coming back here. So I want this demonstration to be loud, to be angry, to be defiant!”
The marchers chanted, “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians!” And “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” “Free, free Palestine” and “Long live Palestine!”
The rally was peaceful and there was no trouble.
A policeman estimated the number of marchers at about a couple of hundred, but it looked like there could have been more than that.
Israeli counter protest
About three Israeli protestors appeared at the start of the march and were wearing ‘Stars of David’, with ‘Jude’ written inside the star. One held a sign that read, “Israel has a right to exist! No more holocaust.”