Melbourne Intersection Shut Down as Anti-War Protest Shines Light on Gaza Crisis

The busy intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne was shut down on Sunday afternoon after being transformed into a poignant theatre of war and resistance, as Pro-Palestine protesters gathered to take a stand against the Israeli war.

Anti-genocide activists staged a dramatic protest, dumping rubble and body bags onto the road, creating a striking tableau meant to mirror the destruction and death in Gaza and the West Bank. The scene was further intensified with the addition of fake drones, bombs, and a hospital tent being symbolically destroyed.

As the chilling sounds of drones and bombings filled the air, large banners emblazoned with “Victoria the Genocide State,” “ALP Arms Genocide,” and “Palestine Always Rising” hung prominently, amplifying the protesters’ powerful message.

Protesters are seen waving the Palestinian flag. Credit: supplied.
Protesters are seen waving the Palestinian flag outside Flinders Street station. Credit: supplied.
Pro-Palestine activists transformed the city of Melbourne on Sunday. Credit: supplied.
Pro-Palestine activists transformed the city of Melbourne on Sunday. Credit: supplied.

“This action is a signifier of the reality of life in Gaza and the West Bank brought by the ongoing genocide being committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces,” one protester declared.

“The Australian Labor Party, our government, is wholly complicit in the wholesale murder of our Palestinian brothers and sisters. We stand with Palestine, with the people, with the resistance.”

The timing of the protest was no coincidence, aligning with the opening of the Rising Festival, a government-funded music and arts event.

The festival had recently emphasised the importance of free expression and dissent in the arts, a sentiment echoed in the activists’ demonstration.

In a statement, protest organisers made clear demands: cutting all ties with Israel, ceasing military cooperation, imposing sanctions, and expelling the Israeli Ambassador.

They urged the Australian and Victorian Governments to fulfil their obligations under international law and take decisive action to end the alleged genocide.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan. Credit: YouTube.
Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan. Credit: YouTube.

As the protest unfolded, the usually vibrant intersection became a sombre display of war’s brutality. Activists, dressed as doctors, nurses, reporters, and civilians, simulated casualties amidst the rubble.

Flares illuminated the scene as banners were unfurled from nearby buildings. The demonstration reached its climax with hundreds of Pro-Palestine supporters joining in, their voices united in the singing of the Palestinian national anthem.

A statement released by the activists invoked the words of Cesar A. Cruz: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” They vowed to continue bringing their message to the streets, stating, “Intifada means Rising. We will not just bring our grief to the streets, we will bring the Intifada. Palestine is always rising.”

The scene, they explained, was designed to reflect the ongoing genocide in Gaza and symbolise the resilience and hope of the Palestinian people. The activists drew stark comparisons between the minor inconvenience of a disrupted intersection in Melbourne and the extensive destruction in Gaza, where 80% of buildings have been destroyed, thousands killed, and the entire population displaced.

The protesters accused Premier Jacinta Allan and the Victorian Government of complicity in the genocide through their support of Israeli defence projects and arms manufacturers.

They condemned the state’s historical and ongoing colonial violence, linking it to the bloodshed in Gaza.

“Victoria is a genocide state,” one protester said. “Premier Jacinta Allan continues in the footsteps of her colonial predecessors who founded the state of Victoria on the blood of First Nations people. The premier has the gall to caution against bringing the grief of Gaza to the streets of Melbourne, while her government is actively funding the genocide in Gaza.”

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