Australian Economy

Business leaders blast pro-Palestine protests aimed at hurting economy

“The stated aim of tomorrow’s protest – to inflict maximum economic damage – is un-Australian and disrespectful,” he said.

“We live in a law-abiding society, and we urge a rethink on the protests tomorrow to ensure business, workers and citizens can go about their day safely, and without significant delays and disruptions.”

Pro-Palestine group A15 Action is urging supporters to turn out for an “economic blockade” of major cities around the world, using the recent port disruption in Melbourne as an example of what it hopes to achieve.

“There is a sense in the streets in this recent and unprecedented movement for Palestine that escalation has become necessary. There is a need to shift from symbolic actions to those that cause pain to the economy,” A15 Action said via its website.

“Join participating cities in blocking the arteries of capitalism and jamming the wheels of production.

“The proposal states that in each city, we will identify and blockade major choke points in the economy, focusing on points of production and circulation with the aim of causing the most economic impact.”

Local pro-Palestine groups staged peaceful rallies in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday and Sunday.

The A15 Action threats are being taken seriously by police in Melbourne, where officers are being brought into the CBD from outer suburban stations and there are plans to reactivate the State Police Operations Centre used at the height of Victoria’s COVID-19 anti-lockdown protests.

The protesters are expected to target the Port of Melbourne, rail networks, major roads and business headquarters.

In January, blockades shut down Webb Dock at the Port of Melbourne several times, with businesses estimating the protest cost the economy tens of millions of dollars.

The latest threat has reignited Victorian Liberal Party calls to hand back so-called “move on” powers to the state’s police and to designate the Port of Melbourne as critical infrastructure.

In Sydney, police stretched by tragic events in Bondi had to deal with four separate protests and rallies on Sunday – pro-Palestine, pro-Israel, anti-abortion and one by environmental activists.

It is understood Sydney police have received no specific information about protests on Monday and have not reallocated resources to deal with any potential threats.

NSW transport authorities also indicated they had not made contingency plans in anticipation of major disruptions.

Other Australian cities and regional centres listed as targets by A15 Action are Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Alice Springs and Geelong.

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