Pro-Palestinian protesters refuse to leave the election office Defense Minister Richard Marles stormed in and called for an end to the war.
The group of more than two dozen masked protesters began a sit-down demonstration at the office on Brougham Street in Geelong, Victoria, at 10am on Wednesday.
Some chained themselves to a ladder while others held banners reading “ALP SUPPORTS ETHNIC CLEANING” and “STOP ARMING ISRAEL.”
Several protesters have uploaded photos and videos of themselves in the office online and describe themselves as anti-Zionists.
Victorian police met the protesters at the scene and arrested five people for trespassing.
Protesters have stormed Defense Minister Richard Marles’ election office in Geelong, Victoria
The Jewish-led group has been participating in a sit-in since 10am on Wednesday, demanding a ceasefire and an end to Australia’s support of Israel
There is currently a heavy police presence on site to ensure the safety of the public
A statement released by the group during the siege said one of its leaders was Noemie Huttner-Koros, a Jewish artist and writer.
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“As a descendant of Holocaust survivors, I refuse to allow the far-right government of Israel to exploit our grief, pain and fear for the purposes of war crimes, invasion and genocide,” she wrote in the statement.
“We want to show the Jewish people in the diaspora that we can raise our voices.” Jews and Palestinians can and live together. “I see it as my inherent duty to fight for justice, peace and liberation for all.”
Mr Marles, who is currently traveling abroad, has acknowledged the situation and said his “first concern is the safety and well-being of my staff”.
The defense minister said he supported everyone’s right to protest but that this must be done “safely and appropriately”.
“The misuse and destruction of property or goods is unacceptable,” he said news.com.au.
Richard Marles, who is currently out of the country, acknowledged Australians have the right to protest but urged protesters to behave peacefully
Noemie Huttner-Koros, a Jewish artist and writer, criticized Israel for “using our grief and fear for the people we have lost to justify war crimes and genocide.”
The protesters chained themselves with bicycle locks around their necks to the ladder in the building’s lobby, where they chanted a Yidish language Prayer song for peace.
Ms. Huttner-Koros mobilized the group by announcing that Israel is “using our grief and fear for the people we have lost to justify war crimes and genocide.”
Members of the Black Peoples Union have since joined in calling on the government to “withdraw economic, diplomatic and military support for Israel’s genocidal occupation of Palestine.”
Police maintained a high presence in the area during the protests before arresting several members as the protests began to disperse.
“It is understood several people chained themselves to equipment in a shop on Brougham Street at around 10am,” a statement said.
“Five people were arrested at the scene and released pending citations for trespassing.”
These arrests include, but are not limited to: A 24-year-old man from Coburg, a 25-year-old man from Thornbury, a 21-year-old woman from Brunswick, a 31-year-old woman from the Northern Territory and a 37-year-old woman from the Northern Territory.