Lebanon protests, August 12.

Slidesow of protests in Sydney & Brisbane. Some excelent photogrphs of the Sydney rally and march by Alex Bainbridge.

ITEM [Green Left Weekly]: Thousands of people rallied and marched in cities around Australia on August 12, demanding an immediate end to Israel’s wars on Lebanon and Palestine.

A diverse crowd of more than 5000 joined the rally in Sydney, organised by the Australian Arabic Committee in Solidarity with the People of Lebanon and Gaza, and the Stop the War Coalition. The main demand, “Israel out of Lebanon and Palestine!”, was addressed by speakers from a range of organisations and communities, including Lebanese and Palestinian Australians, trade unionists, religious leaders and politicians.

A speech by Venezuela’s charge d’affaires in Australia, Nelson Davila, prompted enthusiastic chants in support of President Hugo Chavez, who two weeks ago withdrew Venezuela’s charge d’affaires in Israel to protest against the country’s aggression.

In Brisbane, 300 people marched to the office of the foreign affairs department where they released hundreds of white balloons tied with red ribbons, each one representing a civilian killed by the Israeli military since it commenced its latest attacks on Lebanon and Palestine. The department was targeted to protest against the Australian government’s refusal to demand that Israel immediately stop the bombing.

The rally, organised by a coalition of anti-war groups, was addressed by five speakers, including representatives of the Palestinian, Lebanese and Muslim communities. On the open microphone afterwards, an eight-year-old girl asked of PM John Howard: “What if it was your children being bombed?” People who migrated to Australia from Bosnia and El Salvador also spoke, underlining the need for international solidarity.