Arrests as protests over Gaza war disrupt major cities

Protests against the war in Gaza are expected across the nation's major cities.

Protests against the war in Gaza are expected across the nation's major cities. Photo: AAP

Arrests have been made as train stations, ports and parts of Australia’s biggest cities are blockaded by widespread protests against the war in Gaza.

Pro-Palestine group A15 Action have called on supporters to block “the arteries of capitalism” as part of Monday’s extensive action.

“In each city, we will identify and blockade major choke points in the economy, focusing on points of production and circulation with the aim of causing the most economic impact,” a statement read.

“The global economy is complicit in genocide.

“There is a need to shift from symbolic actions to those that cause pain to the economy.”

Victoria Police confirmed 14 people have been arrested including 12 on Lorimer Street in Port Melbourne where the road was blocked.

The group has since cleared the area.

Two people were arrested for criminal damage at the intersection of Victoria Street and Nicholson Street at Carlton.

Police believe the pair were tampering with traffic lights.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said officers would be pulled from regional stations and sent to protest sites to bolster resources.

“To be clear: we respect people’s right to protest when it is lawful and peaceful,” she said.

“However, there is no place for anyone wanting to deliberately disrupt and cause harm in our community.”

Free Palestine Melbourne have named Thales, which has links to Israeli Aerospace Industries, and oil giant BP as potential targets.

The West Gate Freeway, Hoddle Street, Thales’ premises and the main access point to Melbourne’s docks are protest points but have yet to attract significant crowds.

AW Bell in Dandenong would also be a protest focus, A15 said.

More than 50 protesters gathered in Brisbane outside the Ferra engineering facility.

Near Hobart protesters shut down operations at a workshop of Currawong Engineering after entering its factory.

In NSW, A15 Action said three of its supporters blocked Thales’ Rydalmere site by attaching themselves to devices, including a ladder and a gate.

Protester Lilli Barto, who is at the western Sydney premises, said the group wanted the government to stop supporting weapon suppliers.

“Weapons companies should have no place in the suburbs of so-called Australia,” she said.

An A15 Action spokesperson said the protests were in retaliation to the federal government’s actions since the war began.

“We will make it economically unviable on a widespread scale for Australia to continue to support Israel in committing genocide in Gaza.”

Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratham joined more than 100 protesters outside state parliament.

“What we’re going to see today is what we’ve seen for months across the world with millions of people joining these marches,” she said.

“(This is what) happens when our governments don’t listen.”

In NSW, Premier Chris Minns said many officers were dealing with the aftermath of the deadly Bondi Junction stabbing tragedy.

“People need to understand that you may lose more supporters for your cause than you gain as we direct police resources to the inquiry,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

“And the community itself is (trying) to come together after a terrible 48 hours”.

The fresh protest comes days after Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the “pathway out of the endless cycle of violence” in the Middle East can only come with recognition of “a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel”.

On October 7, Hamas – designated a terrorist group by the Australian government – launched an attack on Israel that killed 1200 people and led another 200 to be taken hostage.

In the months since, Israel has launched a ground offensive and bombing campaign on Gaza that has killed more than 33,000 people and displaced another 1.7 million, according to the local health ministry.


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