Last Friday (July 1) a group of 150 or so people staged a rally outside of a Melbourne branch of the Israeli-owned chocolate shop Max Brenner. The rally was organised by the ‘Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid’ in support of the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) campaign against ‘Israeli Apartheid’.
Police arrested 19 protesters [video] who have been charged with a variety of offences including trespass, besetting, resisting arrest, and behaving in a riotous manner. 16 will be required to front the Magistrates Court on September 5.
For further details, see : Police attack Palestine solidarity demonstration, Socialist Alternative, July 1, 2011 | 19 arrested at anti-Israel protest, Mitchell Toy and James Campbell, Sunday Herald Sun, July 3, 2011 | Police make vicious attack on Palestine solidarity protest, Sue Bolton, Green Left Weekly, July 4, 2011.
A previous protest outside of a Max Brenner outlet in Sydney in June (at which two protesters were arrested) prompted the newly-elected NSW MLC Walt Secord to demand police take action to protect businesses being targeted by the campaign:
“With the BDS gaining support, the NSW Government and the Police Minister must ensure that companies with an Israeli connection are protected and are not unfairly targeted,” Secord said. “BDS is part of a worldwide attempt to isolate Israel, to boycott Israeli products, creativity, programs and culture. It has reached Australia and that is of concern. I vehemently oppose the BDS campaign.”
Local Melbourne MP Michael Danby has condemned the protesters as “prejudiced fanatics”; blogger Gavin Atkins reckons Max Brenner chocolate: tastes like freedom. Neither are likely to attend a public meeting organised for Tuesday, July 5 @ 6:30pm @ Trades Hall to defend those arrested and to assert the right to protest.