Major cities around the world clamped down on pro-Palestinian protests amid the latest uptick in violence in Israel and Gaza.
AUSTRALIA: Officials in one of Australia’s largest cities warned pro-Palestinian protesters that they will not be allowed to “commandeer Sydney streets.”
Police said about 6,000 protesters materialized in Sydney’s Hyde Park and 10,000 marched in Melbourne, according to The Guardian. Police in New South Wales did not make good on their threat to search protesters without reason and force people attending to identify themselves. Police requested and were granted “extraordinary powers” before the protests started.
Yasmin Catley, the police minister, said the Sydney protest organizers previously did not fill out the proper paperwork and the rally was not approved.
“It’s really important to note that putting in a form to use Sydney streets requires the permission of police because of jaywalking and civil obstruction of the natural order of the city,” Chris Minns, the premier of New South Wales, said, according to ABC.net.au. “It requires coordination and this group has shown that they’re not a peaceful organization. Some organizers say it’s been hijacked—whatever—the result was hatred on the streets of Sydney, and the police won’t allow them to commandeer our streets.”
This position prompted civil rights groups to publish an open letter to Minns calling the reaction to the planned protest “deeply concerning.”
“The police minister’s comments yesterday about the right to protest fly in the democratic values that she should be protecting as a democratically elected member of parliament, not trashing live on radio,” Josh Pallas, the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said, according to the report. “The organizations that have signed this open letter call on the government to publicly affirm their support for the right to non-violent protests as a fundamental to freedom of speech, association, and assembly in our state.”
There were no arrests, and the protests were peaceful.
Police tried to enforce these unusual methods after a previous protest that included some demonstrators chanting, “fuck the Jews.”
Police officials in Sydney said organizers clarified that anti-Semitic demonstrators were “not welcome.”
FRANCE: Paris announced last week that it banned all pro-Palestinian protests after what authorities said was an uptick in “antisemitic acts” in the country since Hamas’s attack in Israel.
French authorities said they’ve made 24 arrests for more than 100 antisemitic acts that range from verbal abuse to “people caught with knives near Jewish schools and synagogues,” according to The Associated Press.
Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said “pro-Palestinian demonstrations should be banned and those who defy bans should be arrested, because they are ‘susceptible to disrupt public order’.”
French police have already used tear gas and water cannons to break up earlier protests and some of the demonstrators have been critical of the French response. France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities, Al Jazeera noted. The report noted that there have been no restrictions placed on rallies in support of the Israeli cause and the Eiffel Tower was illuminated in white and blue to honor those killed in Israel.
“We live in a country of civil law, a country where we have the right to take a stand and to demonstrate. [It is unfair] to forbid for one side and to authorize for the other and that does not reflect the reality of Palestine,” Charlotte Vautier, 29, told Reuters.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris is doing everything alongside Israeli authorities and our partners to bring hostages home safely “because France never abandons its children.” He said Israel has the right to defend itself and obliterate Hamas but must try to preserve the civilian population.
GERMANY: Like Paris, Berlin announced that all pro-Palestinian protests are banned in the country citing past experiences with antisemitism.
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, told lawmakers that there have been “disgraceful images on our streets in which the most brutal acts of terror have been celebrated in broad daylight,” according to The Guardian.
Scholz said Germany banned any “activity lauding Hamas crimes in Israel, including the use of their symbols, or expressions of praise for murder and manslaughter, and the burning of the Israeli flag. Anyone found to be doing so would be prosecuted,” Scholz said, according to the report.
WSWS noted that spontaneous protests have emerged throughout Germany in support of the Palestinian cause.
“I condemn violence in any form. But the Palestinians are in the process of liberating themselves. Palestine is occupied and Israel is the occupying power,” one young protester in Hochfeld said. “I have more in common with Germany than with Palestine. But I feel for the people from whom my parents came and the land from which they were expelled several times.”
“It has always been brushed aside, nobody cared when the Israelis expelled the Palestinians,” the protester who moved to Germany 44 years ago. “UN resolutions have been passed against Israel. But nothing has happened. Now the Palestinians are reacting, they want to liberate themselves. And all hell is breaking loose all over the world. Everyone is turning against the oppressed. And that’s not fair. It’s one-sided, it’s not okay, it’s inhuman. For my part, everyone is a human being, no matter where they come from or where they live. When the Israelis are terrorized, everyone shouts out loud, and justifiably. But when Palestinians or Afghans are terrorized, it doesn’t matter. That’s not OK. That’s why I’m here.”
TRENDPOST: Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state, said it was a “grave mistake” for Germany to allow so many migrants into the country because “so many people of totally different culture and religion and concepts because it creates a pressure group inside each country that does that.”
The Trends Journal has reported on how populist movements have broken out across Europe after another round of migrants arrived—mainly from the Middle East and Africa. (See “SPOTLIGHT: MIGRANT MELTDOWN. CRISIS GIVES RISE TO POPULIST MOVEMENT IN EU” 10 Oct 2023.)
More than 220,000 people applied for asylum in Germany from January to August, the Associated Press reported. About 240,000 people applied all of last year.
BRITAIN: Rishi Sunak, the U.K. prime minister, worked to suppress any pro-Palestine protests after the Hamas attack earlier this month, but that did not stop thousands of protesters from taking to the streets across the U.K. on Saturday.
About 15 people were arrested, according to the BBC. The report said police warned that anyone who showed support for Hamas would face arrest.
Suella Braverman, the home secretary, issued an earlier statement that said she expected the police to “use the full force of the law against displays of support for Hamas, other proscribed terrorist groups or attempts to intimidate British Jews.”
“It is not just explicit pro-Hamas symbols and chants that are cause for concern,” she said in a public letter to police obtained by WSWS. “I would encourage police to consider whether chants such as: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ should be understood as an expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world, and whether its use in certain contexts may amount to a racially aggravated section 5 public order offense.”
WSWS noted that the British crackdown was “the largest attack on free speech and the right to protest in post-war British history.”
“I’d just remind everyone that Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organization. People should not be supporting Hamas and we will make sure that we hold people to account if they are,” Sunak said, according to WSWS.
Yet despite the crackdown on protests and threats by U.K.’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman, it is reported that some 150,000 protesters marched through central London to oppose Israel’s Gaza strip bombardment.
TRENDPOST: Even groups that can normally get away with outrageous comments have been taken to task for posting pro-Palestine remarks.
Black Lives Matter Chicago was forced to apologize after sharing a picture of a paraglider with the message “Free Palestine.”
Once again, the hypocrisy is glaring. Israel can do whatever it wants to brutalize Palestinians and there’s not a peep out of these governments, and when someone speaks out, they are quickly condemned.
Imagine if the people of Gaza were Jewish and they had been locked down for 17 years. Imagine if the Jews occupied Israel and the Palestinians took it over in 1949, expelled several hundred thousand Jews in a Nakba and kept stealing Jewish land and kept occupying it with “settlers”… in violation of international law?
There is no Freedom of Speech in these “Western Democracies,” as we have seen in the COVID War and Ukraine War. Any thought outside the accepted narrative is banned.