Hundreds of BDS demonstrators gathered again yesterday at Melbourne's Central Business District to protest against the attack and arrest of 19 nonviolent BDS supporters on July 1st as reported here by Kim Bullimore. Victorian Police had previously arrested demonstrators at the Max Brenner cafe, owned by the Israeli Strauss Group, which directly funds two IDF brigades, the Golani and Givati brigades.
The 19 protestors now face exorbitant fines of up to $30,000. According to organizers CAIA (Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid), yesterday's demonstration expanded to approximately 500 people, 4 times as many as the rally 30 days ago. Starting at the Victorian State Library demonstrators marched through the city streets first to the Max Brenner in Melbourne Central, and then onto Max Brenner in the QV courtyard to show support for those arrested and assert their legal right to continue protesting against those who support and fund Israeli apartheid.
There were no arrests this time although police were in attendance including 8 mounted officers.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, visited Max Brenner in mid-July for a photo media opportunity misrepresenting the intentions of BDS in the Australian press as a boycott of "Jewish businesses".
"As an individual citizen - that is me, K. Rudd - I am here because I object to the boycotting of Jewish businesses," he said. Mr Rudd - meeting with Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby - said anyone with historical memory should deplore boycotts of Jewish businesses. Samah Sabawi from Australians for Palestine said Max Brenner was a legitimate target for the boycott, even though her organisation did not take part in protests. "I think Kevin Rudd has not given Palestinian civil society a good hearing," Ms Sabawi said.
(Hat tip: International Women's Peace Service in Palestine (IWPS) and volunteer Kim Bullimore)