Queensland Police have warned protesters against threatening or violent behaviour as hundreds prepare to attend a pro-Palestine rally in Brisbane’s CBD.
Protesters are expected to gather at about 6pm in the King George Square area, overseen by a “ramped up” police presence.
Event organisers, ‘No War on Gaza — Solidarity with Palestine’, are calling for Australia to cut ties with Israel as well as “end to Israeli apartheid, the occupation, and the siege on Gaza”.
“We reject all forms of racism including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” the event description read.
Deputy Commissioner of Crime, Counter-Terrorism and Specialist Operations, Tracy Linford, said emotions were still running high among the state’s Jewish and Muslim communities.
“Rallies, vigils and protests are often a very good means for people to be able to come out and express that emotion, get support from others, and actually demonstrate what their concerns might be,” she told the media on Friday morning.
“So it is an outlet that we support when done peacefully and within the law.
“Be respectful, be understanding and understand that there are communities out there that are suffering significant grief.”
Assistant Commissioner Brian Connors said police would have a “sufficient operational footprint” around the event.
“For issues like this, we certainly ramp up and scale up our ability to respond and the number of resources we do deploy,” he said.
“The role of the police is one of impartiality to make sure that all persons, whether they’re involved with this particular event or not … are kept safe from any harm or any violence.
“If we believe that people are behaving in a manner that threatens community safety, offends or incites violence, we will be swift and decisive.”
Event organisers did not obtain a permit to hold the rally due to time constraints, however Assistant Commissioner Connors said that was “not unusual” for this type of event.
“I will say that we have been engaged with organisers for some time and a permit was in fact applied for which is a sign of good faith in our view to try and comply with the legislation in Queensland,” he said.
“All I can do is reiterate the requirement that if people do attend, they listen to the instructions of police and they conduct themselves in a reasonable manner.”
Rolling road closures will be deployed around the CBD to facilitate the large-scale gathering.
This comes after pro-Palestine rallies were held in Sydney and Melbourne earlier in the week, as well as a Jewish vigil in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Wednesday.
Some protesters at the Sydney rally on Monday were filmed chanting anti-Semitic hate speech, sparking Liberal leader Peter Dutton to call for their immediate deportation.
It is expected that there will be further protests across Australia’s capital cities over the weekend.