Australian school students walked out of classrooms to protest Israel’s genocide against Gaza on Thursday. There were school strikes in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong and Adelaide.
International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) campaigners spoke with students at the protests in Melbourne and Sydney. The IYSSE was the only group advancing a socialist program to fight against genocide and war. Read the IYSSE’s coverage of the demonstrations here.
In Sydney, Zainab, a university student studying psychology and marketing, said: “It’s very important for young people in Australia to show their support for Palestine. To show the Australian government we care about what is happening. War crimes are being committed, which is nothing new, but this is on a whole other scale. It is genocide and they’re doing it openly. They are not trying to hide it.
“They are not going after Hamas. They’re still trying to convince the world that all Palestinians in Gaza are Hamas, which is obviously not true. They’ve just killed these people.”
Zainab said the coverage of the previous school strike was “disgusting. They thought they could scare students, but they don’t realise that we’re seeing kids, our own age, being blown up. We’re seeing schools blown up. We don’t see it as fair that we can continue to go to school safely, whereas our government is openly supporting Israel blowing up schools and students.”
On the revelations that Israeli intelligence had prior warning of the October 7th uprising and facilitated it being carried out, she said, “I’ve seen that. It shows Netanyahu and his government don’t even care about their own people. They care about power and land. That’s their main goal. They’re like happy to sacrifice their people if it means that they can continue their brutalization of Palestinians.
“They’re calling October 7th Israel’s 9/11. They are using it as an excuse to commit this violence. I don’t think anything was a good enough excuse for America’s invasion of Iraq and killing two million innocent Iraqis. Israel is just repeating what their friends in America have done.”
“The governments all around the world are not for the people. It is disheartening to see thousands coming out into the streets in Australia, but the government doesn’t listen. I have seen comments on Penny Wong and Albanese’s Instagrams, telling them people don’t want their tax money going towards killing kids in the Middle East.”
The IYSSE member raised the call by the Palestinian Trade Unions for workers to stop sending military arms to Israel she said, “I agree with that, it shows that people do have some power. It shows us that we can do something and we’re not hopeless.”