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Australian police clash with protesters blocking ‘israeli’ ship at Sydney port

Australian police have clashed with pro-Palestinian activists protesting the arrival of an Israeli cargo ship that transports weapons for the regime’s military at Port Botany in Sydney.

Hundreds of people, including members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Palestine Justice Movement Sydney, gathered close to the facility on Sunday evening to protest against the arrival of the Gagnes container ship, which is operated by the Israeli-based shipping company ZIM.

Protesters then marched across Penrhyn Road, the main access point out of the city’s port facility.

“Any companies that are aligned with the Israel war machine should not be allowed in Australia,” Federal Greens senator and deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi, who joined the protest, said.

The demonstrators also slammed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese over his stance on the war in Gaza, saying he had “blood on [his] hands.”

Police arrested 19 people, including a union leader.

New South Wales police alleged that the arrests were made as some in the group had moved to Penrhyn Road, “blocking the roadway and access to the port.”

The arrestees were charged with obstructing roads or paths, failing to comply with a move on direction, and remaining “near or on [a] major facility causing serious disruption.”

A screenshot shows Australian police clashing with pro-Palestine protesters in Sydney on March 24, 2024.

Police confirmed that MUA’s Sydney branch secretary, Paul Keating was among the arrestees.

Keating reaffirmed MUA’s support for the protests at the port, and the right of the community to protest.

“I say this to the ZIM shipping line – we don’t want you in our ports! And I say this to every global shipping line – declare that you are not moving Israeli-owned or made goods, and you will not see these protests in the ports!”

“I say to every union leader in Australia: now is the time to stand up, now is the time to fight,” he added.

The protesters called on the Australian government to cut ties with the “apartheid Israel.”

One protester, filmed on a live stream of the protest, said Australia needs “to cut military ties with Israel. We need to cut economic ties with Israel. We need to make apartheid Israel the pariah […] that it should be.”

“We can no longer stand this genocide, this barbarism, as human, as Australians.”

Late last year, Malaysia banned Zim, Israel’s largest shipping firm, from docking at its ports in response to the war in Gaza.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

Tel Aviv has also blocked water, food, and electricity to Gaza, plunging the coastal Strip into a humanitarian crisis.

Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has killed more than 32,200 Palestinians and injured over 74,000 others.

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