NSW police warned Sydney’s Jewish community to avoid the Opera House on Monday as its sails were lit with the Israeli flag to commemorate those killed and kidnapped by Hamas, after green-lighting a pro-Palestinian march to the site.
Jewish leaders said it was “sad and disturbing” to be told they were not safe in Sydney, as Greens MPs backed Palestinian marchers who said they supported “resistance” against Israel despite the deaths and disappearances of women and children.
Pro-Palestinian protesters, who had marched from Town Hall, threw flares outside the Sydney Opera House and yelled “f..k Israel” and “f..k the Jews” as the sails were lit in blue and white.
A number of police officers guarded the Opera House stairs.
An Israeli flag was burned on the steps of the Opera House in one of the most concerning scenes from Monday night’s pro-Palestine rally. …
Other monuments internationally have been lit in support of Israel, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Ground Zero in New York and Niagara Falls. These were largely met with peaceful observance and support, such as in Germany where crowds carried Israeli flags towards the Brandenburg Gate. …
Don’t even think about expressing support for Israel near that crowd:
At Sydney Town Hall, Mark Spiro was dragged away by police as he held an Israeli flag. He was heard shouting “I did nothing wrong” as he was arrested and removed by officers.
“I was literally at the protest for all of probably three seconds with a rolled up Israeli flag, and next thing I know I’ve got multiple police officers trying to grab the flag off me and then carrying me away from the scene,” Mr Spiro said in an interview with Sky News.
“It was excessive and at the time having both of your arms pinned back for effectively having a rolled up Israeli flag was shocking and confronting.”
NSW police wanted to take Mr Spiro to a police station, but he was allowed to leave after agreeing to leave the city and handing over his flag to police. …
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies told members late on Monday that authorities advised them not to go to the Opera House — despite it being lit up in support for Israel– as police allowed Palestinian support marchers to leave the starting point at Town Hall and walk towards the lit-up sails. …
A NSW police spokeswoman said safety was “the first priority”. …
At 8:30, the bulk of the pro-Palestine march had filtered away, but a rowdy group from the crowd — some decked in face coverings, with megaphones and flags of Iran, Lebanon, Palestine and the Gulf states — could be heard chanting “f**k the Zionist pigs”.
“Palestine will be free, f**k the Zionist pigs,” one group chanted.
“Allahu akbar” was also heard under the sails of the Opera House.
Although scenes never escalated into full-on violence — more akin to a rowdy football game — one freelance photographer had a $10,000 camera was ripped from her by pro-Palestine protestors and thrown down the steps of the Opera House.
“The flares were starting and I was just near the edge,” freelance photographer Michelle Haywood said.
“I held it up to get a better shot, and next thing I know a young bloke grabbed it.
“He said: ‘what the f**k do you think you’re doing’, and threw it about 20 metres.”
Ms Haywood was in tears speaking to The Australian and said it then got kicked around by other rally protestors, explaining the piece of kit was not insured and would now set her back close to $10,000.
Allowing pro-Palestine supporters to hijack a tribute for more than 700 people slain by Hamas terrorists and effectively banning Jewish-Australians from attending the lighting of the Sydney Opera House in the Israeli flag undermines social cohesion and interfaith respect. …
Instead of shutting down the rally, NSW Police allowed the march to proceed while urging Jewish-Australians to keep out of the Sydney CBD and away from the Sydney Opera House. …
NSW Police and Chris Minns’ government allowed the streets of Sydney to be turned into an ugly theatre of division and hate.
Nothing surprising there.