Hundreds of Pro-Palestinian protesters have begun to gather at rallies across the country as Gaza braces for a ground strike from Israeli forces.
Australians in Canberra, Brisbane and Perth have gathered in support of the heavily-bombarded Palestinians as Israel continues to send warplanes into Gaza in retaliation for attacks from Hamas militants.
Attendees in Canberra were seen peacefully waving flags, as a small group of counter-protestors stood nearby holding signs.
Regarded as Israel’s 9/11, Hamas launched its deadliest attack on the country on Saturday, firing 3500 rockets into the contested territory.
Israel has warned 1.1 million civilians in north Gaza that they have 24 hours to relocate to the south, with its military chief declaring “now is the time for war”.
The rallies in Canberra and Brisbane come on the same day that NSW Premier Chris Minns has urged residents of his state not to attend protests planned for this weekend in Sydney.
“Obviously, I’m concerned about the assembly on Sunday,” Mr Minns told the media on Friday.
NSW Police revealed they may use extraordinary powers to search those planning to attend the pro-Palestine protests after a previous rally organised by the same group featured anti-Semitic chants.
“We intend to search people that we believe are likely to protest or have shown an interest in protesting, based on the fact that weapons and flares, the experiences of Monday night,” acting commissioner David Hudson said.
Mr Minns has repeatedly condemned the actions of protesters on Monday night, despite the organisers claiming that they were a “tiny fringe” of “vile anti-Semitic attendees” who were not connected to the rally.
“Now, I think it is fair to note that whether that protest was hijacked or there was malevolent intent from the very beginning, it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“The organisers of the protest have proven to the NSW police, the government, people of NSW that they can’t manage a peaceful protest.”
Mr Minns had a grim warning for Sydneysiders if the scenes on Monday were repeated on the weekend.
“That would be ruinous for Sydney‘s sense of cohesion, our multicultural, multi-faith community, we couldn’t have those scenes again and police have got every right to protect and ensure that those scenes aren’t repeated over the weekend,” he said.