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May 13, 2021

North coast locals stand up for Gaza

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gaza3Scores of Byron shire residents marched through the streets of Byron Bay on Saturday for the second time in a month in solidarity with the people of Gaza who are under siege, bombardment and occupation by Israel.

Marchers chanted ‘Free Palestine’, ‘End the Siege’, and ‘Stop the War Machine’ during the march, part of a global ‘Day of Rage’ to protest the genocide on Palestinians and to demand their freedom from Israeli occupation.

Local Nick Sayers told the rally at Main Beach that ‘the bombing of women and children anywhere is a war crime’. ‘I’m a Christian. I was indoctrinated into supporting Zionist Christian mentalities. I feel ashamed. I am unlearning all the indoctrination of the churches in support of Zionism,’ Mr Sayers said.

‘Jesus would never have put up with this.’

Mr Sayers criticised the Australian government for ‘blindly supporting Israel. Our country has been taken over by tyrants’.

Byron shire residents march against Israel's massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.
Byron shire residents march against Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

Another local, Jarel, said ‘I’m a Zionist who supports Palestinians. Jews and Palestinians are brothers. Palestinians were originally Hebrews who converted to Islam. Who has the right to deny them the right to return to their land?

‘I feel Jews and Palestinians can live in peace with equal rights for all and Israel can become a model of tolerance,’ Jarel said.

Frank Khouri said ‘America has been sucked into a vortex of debt and the only way they can climb out is by becoming a war economy. America needs villains’.

‘They created the Taliban and Al Qaida. Any villain will do, even created by central casting. Religion is a false flag. This is not about religion, it’s about human rights.’

Activist Rihab Charida said ‘Israel was created on top of over 100 massacres and the massacres still continue. Co-existence for all is what we are fighting for. We are all “chosen people”,’ Ms Chariba said. ‘We salute the courageous resistance of the Palestinian people,’ she said. ‘The resistance gives us hope. But this is not enough. Only the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) will stop Israeli apartheid. It worked in South Africa.’

gaza2Ms Chariba told the scores of people that ‘we can all make a difference by using applications for smart phones like Buycott, a bar code scanner that helps consumers vote with their wallet to avoid funding products and organisations that support genocide and apartheid’.

Peace activist Margeaux Marshall said ‘It’s natural to feel anger and rage at the situation, but let’s not forget joy and peace’. Ms Marshall said that in earlier conflicts young people on both sides expressed the hope that ‘we will not hate, we will win’.

Organisers have planned a sunset candlelight vigil at Main Beach on Sunday 24 August, to be followed by a fundraiser, including a forum and entertainment, at Byron Community Centre theatre at 7pm for the children of Gaza.

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  1. Looking forward to seeing all these people again at the demo against ISIL and its genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq. Or the massacres of civilians in Syria, or Congo, or South Sudan.

  2. Fair enough, but what about another protest about the brutalities and killings in ISIS-land? Is that a protest for next weekend? The numbers of deaths far outnumbers the Palestinian dead.

  3. @colours @jon sure you arrange the protest ..I will be there and many others too..two wrongs dont make a right…. get out there and protest if you feel you should…or sit back complacently and shoot the breeze.

  4. Can the echo please provide details of when these marches are going to take place or a contact for the group and the information?
    I would love to attend the marches but was unaware of them taking place.
    How are they publicised?

  5. Thanks H Tremayne for your valid feedback. I’ll pass it on to the organisers. The next event is planned for Sun Aug 24, and includes a candlelight vigil at Main Beach at 5pm, followed by a fundraiser at Byron Community Centre at 7, including a forum and entertainment. News of this will be posted via all media including the Echo.

  6. Gaza-Ark Fundraiser for Gaza Children is an initiative of Byron Forums that meets weekly at Cafe Oska in Byron Bay to take creative action on global issues. Gaza-Ark is supported by the Friends of Palestine Group and Byron Community Centre. Gaza-Ark Fundraiser is coming up on August 24. Meet at Cafe Oska at 12 noon for lunch and lantern-making. A prayerful lantern vigil at Belongil Beach at 5 pm is followed by Palestinian food, music, dance, a forum and fundraiser at Byron Theatre at 7 pm.

  7. The deaths of innocents by ISIS etc are on the hands of the Saudis and the US. What would be the point protesting against fundamentalists such as ISIS, Al Qa’eda, Al Nusra, et al when they are the intentional creations of CIA in the first place for the purposes of perpetuating instability for the continued justification of hardcore US chicken hawk militancy? Brutality exists on all sides of this conflict, but I think we can all agree that continuing to (not so) secretly arm the people you are ‘fighting’ against is absolutely stupid and disingenuous policy.


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