Hundreds of school students took to the streets of Melbourne today calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
In a march organised by School Strike For Palestine, students left their classrooms to gather at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne’s CBD.
Speaking to PEDESTRIAN.TV, strike organiser Audra Hope said they were striking because there “is a genocide actively happening in Palestine”.
“We are going to strike until justice has been served in Palestine, until there is a free Palestine, until Palestinian’s can live their lives without destruction and terror,” she said.
“Don’t just stay in class and be a little goody two-shoes, come out and strike. Be on the right side of history.”
The crowd took over the streets of central Melbourne, chanting and blocking traffic.
March organisers had originally planned to head straight to the lawn of the State Library, but changed tacts to “occupy” Melbourne Central mall instead, one organiser told P.TV..
“We occupy Melbourne Central because Israel occupies Palestine,” one organiser told the crowd.
Some politicians, such as Federal Education Minister Jason Clare, had expressed opposition to students leaving the classroom to strike. Clare said “school students should be at school during school hours” in a statement last week.
However, the strike had plenty of political support. Greens leader Adam Bandt supported the students, saying they were “marching for peace” in a press briefing prior to the protest.
“Right now Gaza is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child according to the United Nations. And that’s why students are joining hundreds of thousands of people across the country in marching to call for a full and permanent ceasefire,” he said.
“We can’t have a situation where after a few days reprieve, the bombing, the dehydration, and the starvation of people in Palestine starts again.
“That’s why students and many others are marching”.
He said the Labor party needed to “listen to the majority of Australians” and call for a ceasefire.
Australia has yet to join growing international calls for a ceasefire, however the government has granted hundreds of temporary visas to Palestinians who have fled the conflict.
Although Israel and Hamas agreed yesterday to a four day pause in fighting, details remain unclear and Israel has made it clear that it is not ending the war.