2 November 2023

Activists call for a 'Free Palestine' at Wagga's Rotary Peace Monument

| Chris Roe
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Pro-Palestinian signs have been attached to Wagga Rotary’s Peace Monument. Photo: Luke Grealy.

Motorists and pedestrians heading along the Esplanade and Ivan Jack Drive in Wagga this week were surprised to see a string of protest posters along the Nobel Peace Walk beside the lagoon.

The hand-painted signs taped to the Rotary Peace Monument proclaimed “Free Palestine” in dripping red and black and declared, “our ANZACs fought against genocide, not with it”.

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Nearby, on the memorial to Swedish inventor and weapons manufacturer Alfred Nobel, three separate posters list the numbers of Palestinians killed in the latest conflict with Israel.

“2136 Women.. 3457 children.. Killed 8306” they read.

The memorial to Alfred Nobel was covered with the Palestinian bodycount from the latest conflict with Israel. Photo: Luke Grealy.

The memorial to Alfred Nobel was covered with the Palestinian body count from the latest conflict with Israel. Photo: Luke Grealy.

The current conflict between Israel and militant group Hamas has been raging for almost four weeks after gunmen launched an assault on Israel from the Gaza Strip on 7 October.

More than 1,400 people were killed in coordinated attacks and more than 200 hostages were taken.

Israeli officials have described the attacks as “our 9/11”, comparing the tragedy to the terror attacks in the US in 2001, and have retaliated with air and missile strikes on Gaza and have also sent ground troops and tanks into the territory.

Thousands of Palestinian civilians have been caught in the crossfire as Israel seeks to destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

Around 100 Australians have found themselves trapped in Gaza with small numbers now beginning to escape to Egypt after the border was opened to refugees.

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Aid agencies have warned of an unfolding humanitarian crisis after water and sanitation and essential services collapsed, and hospitals are unable to cope with the influx of wounded.

Thousands of protestors have hit the streets across Australia to march in solidarity with Palestinians and calling for an end to the bombardment and, more broadly, for self-determination and a Palestinian state.

Wagga’s Rotary Peace Monument represents the city’s support for a global ‘Peace City’ initiative that began in 1990 when Kooringal Rotary got behind the project.

Officially opened in October, 1991, the symbol of the dove of peace flying over the world comes from the theme ‘Look Beyond Yourself’.

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