On Saturday the 2nd of August a group called Whistleblowers, Activists, and Citizens Alliance (WACA) called for members and allies to unite for an action in the city to show our support for Palestine and Gaza in light of the apartheid and unjustifiable extermination of their population by the Israeli State.
Over the last few weeks we have seen the news reports, personal stories, photos and videos come through from Palestine. For the last 3 weeks in Melbourne there have been rallies in the city to condemn the actions of the Israeli State and raise awareness of the issue within the community. At each rally there has been a good turnout, the speeches have been powerful, the energy in the crowd has been palpable. Last Friday’s action still drew a large crowd in spite of Melbourne weather and we remained in #Solidaritywithgaza in not only the rain but also through 2 hailstorms. As many people in the crowd pointed out “Standing in the rain and hail is nothing when those we are in solidarity with are standing in rocket fire and white phosphorous”.
The reports and images coming through from Gaza has been heartbreaking, seeing the total death toll increase, and the death toll of children rise has been devastating. Listening to the Israeli Government called for the extermination of the Palestinian people has been enraging. The group had decided that more needed to be done to raise awareness in the community, to get the average Melbournian to know about what is happening in Gaza. It was decided that creating as many banners as possible and dropping them around Melbourne’s busiest areas would be the best choice for a snap direct action on a Saturday afternoon.
Sam Castro, one of the organizers of the action and member of WACA had this to say about why we need to have direct actions on the issue of Gaza and Palestine “Nothing can stop the tears and pain that must be flowing in GAZA and around the world for those already murdered in what can only be described as attempted genocide by the Israeli Apartheid State. But we can all resist publicly in our own little ways and in doing so remind each other of our humanity and the truth. We can let the Palestinians known, that if nothing else we bare witness to the horror being inflicted on those in Gaza and the West Bank. In a violent world dominated by corporations and brutal Empires, we see you Gaza and we bare witness to the crimes of the Israeli State”.
For our drop we managed to make 5 banners with various slogans explaining our position and designed to get as much attention as possible. We decided to drop our largest banner from the Arts Centre wall, where it faced back to Flinders St Station so that anyone on the Princess St Bridge would be able to see it.
We then placed 3 of the others on the pedestrian bridge between Flinders St Station and Crown Casino, from here anyone along the Princess St Bridge, exiting the back of Flinders St Station or in any of the Restaurants on South Yarra would be able to see the banners.
Our final banner drop was at Federation Square, this banner received the most amount of positive attention as there was an action going on with the Iraqi Christians against ISIS happening at the other end of the square. Several attendees stopped to have photos with the banner in the back ground and some came and spoke to us as we dropped the banner and posed in our photos.
The banner drops achieved their goal of informing the community about this atrocity. It was clear from the response of people on the pedestrian bridge that there is a large portion of the community that doesn’t know about Gaza and the ongoing genocide of Palestinians. However people were happy to engage on the topic and were just genuinely unaware and horrified to hear about the issue.
Keep an eye out for more direct actions to come across the city in relation to this issue, but also encourage your affinity groups to make a stand and do other direct actions on the issue if you feel strongly about Gaza and Palestine. It is clear that more needs to be done to educate people in the community, and also to continue to show the people in Gaza that we are witness to their suffering and the crimes against them and that we will continue to stand with them in solidarity.
For more details on the action please check out:
To watch a video filmed by WACA regarding the banner drop please watch:
For high resolution photos please check out:
Writen by CJ.