A 24-Hour Sit-In Outside Albanese’s Office Reaches Its 12th Day Without An Official Response


Pro-Palestine protesters have been holding a 24-hour sit-in outside Prime Minister Anthony Albanese‘s Sydney office for almost two weeks, but say they’re yet to receive an official response.

What began as two friends protesting in Marrickville on February 11 has grown to include hundreds of people, including children, parents, friends, families, passionate strangers and seasoned activists. Senator Mehreen Faruqi and Newtown MP Jenny Leong have also appeared in support of the picket.

The makeshift protest is now a round-the-clock operation, organiser Sara Shaweesh — who is also a constituent of Albanese — told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

The group is at its most sparse in the morning, but swells to around 100 people each evening, with protesters staying awake through the night and braving severe thunderstorms and torrential rain in a dogged attempt to be heard by the prime minister.

Their demands? For the prime minister to call for a “permanent, unconditional ceasefire“, condemn genocide and cut ties with Israel over its mass killings of Palestinians in Gaza. Or at the very least, to answer their emails.

“I don’t think we’re going to be packing up to go unless he comes to speak to us. Or at least answers our emails. Like, that’s the bare minimum,” Shaweesh told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

Shaweesh, who is Palestinian, said she’s spoken to Australian citizens directly affected by Israel’s attacks on Gaza. One man told her he’s lost more than 60 members of his family since Israel’s bombardment began. He learned of the 10 most recent deaths by watching TV. He says he’s yet to hear from Albanese or the Australian government, in stark contrast to the comfort and compensation being offered to the Australian families of killed Israelis.

“Nobody has responded to us and no one has come to hear the community,” Shaweesh said.

“We [may be] a minority but they should be coming to speak to us. They’re giving out $75,000 [to] victims of so called terrorist attacks, yet they’ve not extended that same care to Palestinians. It’s one sided bias.”

Newtown MP Jenny Leong has also made appearances at the sit-in. Image: supplied.

The community group Families for Palestine, which has joined the sit-in, is calling for the Australian government to restore funding for displaced Palestinians and cease its support for Israel.

“Families for Palestine stands united against the genocide of the Palestinian people. Guided by a collective ethos of care, love, and dignity, we cannot remain silent in the face of these atrocities,” Dr Alba Boer Cueva, a representative of Families for Palestine, told PEDESTRIAN.TV in a statement.

“We unite our voices with millions worldwide, echoing the collective call for an end to these horrors. The time for a ceasefire is now. Our government must restore [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] UNRWA funding and cease its support for Israel.”

Since October 7, more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera. That number does not include Palestinians killed in the West Bank. The Israeli death toll remains at 1,139.

Palestinians try to cheer up children among the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza, as Israel prepares for a ground invasion. Image: Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images

Despite widespread condemnation of Israel’s offensive — and an ICJ case accusing it of genocide — the state has refused to back down.

Last week, Albanese urged Israel to “listen to its friends and the international community” and not go ahead with a planned ground offensive into the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where some 1.5 million Palestinian refugees have taken shelter.

However, Shaweesh says Australia’s response doesn’t go far enough.

“Lives are at stake,” she said.

“[Albanese] should be brave enough to be like, ‘I don’t want to be a part of this’. There’s no more tiptoeing or talking about it in a gentle way. Like, the whole system needs to be reevaluated and people need to wake up.”

Community members gather outside Anthony Albanese’s office. Image: supplied.

Shaweesh has urged any Australians who want to create change to join them.

“Just bring your bodies down, come to the picket,” she said.

“We’ve done all the trying to make appointments with members of parliament. We’ve done all the letter writing, we’ve done all the calling, and we’ve done all the rallying and protests.

“People need to have the bravery to get up and do something because silence is complicity, there’s no way around it.”

Families for Palestine has urged Albanese to “prioritise humanity over politics, prioritise peace over genocide.”

Until he responds to them directly, and hears their concerns, the sit-in will continue.

Image: supplied.