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6 arrests after cops, protesters clash

Written by on May 19, 2024

Six people have been arrested following a clash between pro-Palestinian protesters and a pro-Israeli rally in Melbourne’s CBD.

It’s estimated about 7000 people attended the separate Nakba Sunday Rally, and a Never Again is Now Rally organised by the Christian Zionist group International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

It’s understood some protesters from the Nakba Sunday Rally, which began at midday around the State Library merged onto Spring St, around Parliament House, where the Never Again is Now Rally was slated to begin at about 2.30pm.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said officers formed a line between the opposing groups in order to “ensure safety and prevent violence”.

“While the organisers had confirmed separate locations and routes for their events, protesters from one group moved to Spring Street, Melbourne East to counter protest,” they said.

“The police response was largely successful in keeping these two opposing groups separate.

“Victoria Police respects the right for people to protest lawfully however we ask that they do so peacefully without impacting the broader community.”

Following both events, Victoria Police confirmed six people were arrested.

One person was arrested for bill posting, one for hindering and stating a false name, and one of assaulting police and possessing a drug of dependence. Three people were also arrested for hindering police.

They have all been released pending summons.

Protesters donning the traditional keffiyeh and waving the Palestinian flag descended on Melbourne’s busy CBD about midday for the Nakba Sunday Rally.

Billed as a rally to “stand against that most ancient of racial hatreds, antisemitism,”, the Never Again is Now Rally included speeches from Victorian senators Sarah Henderson, and James Patterson.

A posted shared on their Facebook page prior to the event, warned attendees not to “engage” with counter protesters from the State Library event.

“There is no reason to be concerned about this. Victoria Police are closely monitoring the situation and there will be a large visible police presence throughout the city,” it said. “Many solid plans in place.

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The Nakba Sunday Rally marked the 76th anniversary on Wednesday of the Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic, and comes amid heightened tensions with police.

The rally followed wild scenes at the annual Victorian state Labor Party conference at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday, where officers clashed with demonstrators who attempted to storm the venue.

Controversial right-wing commentator Avi Yemini was pictured with a microphone on Sunday having posted on Instagram about the Never Again rally.

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