Pro-Palestine protests across Melbourne as MP offices vandalised

A wide network of protesters swept through Melbourne in the days following the overwhelming rejection by Canberra lower house MPs of a motion to recognise a Palestinian state.

A state government-backed defence forum in Melbourne’s central business district was the target of protesters who took up residence in the forecourt of the building on Friday morning. Police say no arrests were made or instructions given to move on.

Victoria’s Employment Minister Natalie Hutchins addressed the event, which was sponsored by arms and defence giant BAE Systems. Speakers included arms manufacturers DMTC, QinetiQ and SYPAQ, weapons manufacturer The Smart Think, as well as Melbourne-based manufacturers and a retraining provider.

“Natalie Hutchins is speaking at this event today because she is the Secretary of Labor and Industry, so she has played a huge role in creating the space needed for the supply chains to make guns in our backyards,” a protester outside yelled through a megaphone.

The demonstrators lay down on the street and tried to represent the bodies of those killed in Gaza.

Ms Hutchins’ office has been contacted for comment.

Elsewhere in the city, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters marched to the state parliament with baby dolls smeared with “blood.”

“Stop arming Israel,” read their banners.

Under the Albanese government, Australia exported $3.25 million worth of weapons and ammunition to Israel, according to figures from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

A factory in Melbourne is the world’s only manufacturer of a key bomb bay door component for the F-35 stealth jet, a key aircraft for the Israel Defense Forces.

Pro-Palestinian sentiment was fuelled again this week when federal MPs rejected a motion to formally recognise a Palestinian state. The Greens’ motion was rejected in the House of Commons by 80 votes to 5.

A wave of anti-gun sentiment within the pro-Palestine movement escalated into a series of acts of vandalism against Labor MPs across Melbourne early Friday.

NewsWire does not claim that there is a direct connection between the peaceful protesters and the vandals.

Offices were daubed with red paint; three of the offices affected belong to Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten and the American Consulate on St Kilda Road.

The attacks occurred in the early hours of the morning; the police are investigating.

On Shorten’s office were the words “Bill, blood on your hands. 40,000 dead”, an alleged reference to the hard-to-verify death toll in Gaza over the past seven months.

The Attorney-General’s office declined to comment. Mr Shorten’s office and the US embassy were contacted for comment.

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