Thousands in Sydney join global Gaza protests

More than 4000 Sydney protesters joined hundreds of thousands around the world on Sunday to demand an end to Israeli military strikes on Gaza.

The boisterous crowd stood shoulder-to-shoulder, waving Palestinian flags and chanting: “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinian.”

Palestinian fire-fighters try to extinguish a fire which police said was caused by an Israeli tank's shelling in the industrial area in the east of Gaza City July 12, 2014. Israel pounded Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Saturday for a fifth day, killing nine people including two disabled women according to medics, and showed no sign of pausing despite international pressure to negotiate a ceasefire. REUTERS/Ashraf Amrah.

Palestinian fire-fighters try to extinguish a fire which police said was caused by an Israeli tank's shelling in the industrial area in the east of Gaza City July 12, 2014. Israel pounded Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Saturday for a fifth day, killing nine people including two disabled women according to medics, and showed no sign of pausing despite international pressure to negotiate a ceasefire. REUTERS/Ashraf Amrah.

Best friends Batoul Taha, 25, and Kiltom Al-Tobi, 25, held placards showing images of Palestinian children injured or killed in air strikes. They said they travelled an hour from the western suburbs to attend the rally.

“We are just over it. We are over people being killed in Palestine, especially the children,” said Taha, who lives in Merrylands.

“This is against UN laws but the UN is not doing anything about it … That’s why we are here – to make the world aware that injustice is happening and you cannot sit there and just ignore it,” said Al-Tobi, from Liverpool.

Organiser Damien Ridgewell from the Palestine Action Group told protesters their voices were part of a chorus around the world.

“From New York to South Africa to Oslo and London … we stand in solidarity against the atrocities in Gaza.”

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said the demonstrations sent an important message to Australia’s political leadership, as well as to people in Gaza.

“These actions give such strength to the people in Gaza who are being bombed and who are suffering such hardship,” she said.

“We need Australian political leaders to stand up and add their voice to calls for a ceasefire.”

The worldwide demonstrations come as the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv is preparing to evacuate Australians from the Gaza Strip.

More than 150 Palestinians have been killed in five days of aerial bombardment.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller said: "It is always unfortunate when activists attempt to bring foreign conflicts to the streets of Sydney."

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