PM Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Chris Minns condemn pro-Palestinian rally

Prime minister Anthony Albanese told Sydney 2GB radio that the pro-Palestine rally should have been called off out of respect for the loss of life.

“I support people’s right to demonstrate their views – we’re a democratic nation … But what is to be served apart from creating a climate that is not conducive to peace?” he said.

Declaring himself a supporter of the two-state solution, he also said Hamas’ attack was not in the interests of either Israelis or Palestinians.

“There’s no doubt there has been and continues to be Palestinian suffering but the actions of Hamas in this are completely indefensible,” he said.

“Every effort should always be made to protect and not to harm civilians.

“But Israel, of course, does have a right to defend itself.”

New South Wales Premier Chis Minns has also spoken out against the pro-Palestinian rally held on the steps of Sydney Opera House on Monday.

Minns condemned the rally calling the protest “shocking and abusive”.

“I think at the end of the day this is the opposite of the dynamic multicultural community that we want in New South Wales and Australia,” he said on Tuesday.

“There was a situation last night where racial epithets were thrown at the Jewish community by the mere fact that they were members of the Jewish community which is shocking and abusive.

“I just want to make it clear the sympathy and position of the NSW government could not be clearer we stand with the Jewish community in NSW.”

The rally in Sydney, organised by the Palestine Action Group Sydney, demanded Australia cut ties with Israel and urging supporters to “protest in solidarity with Palestine”.

Attendees marched from Town Hall to the Sydney Opera House on Monday, arriving about 7pm, where the landmark was to be lit up in blue and white in support of Israel.

Speaking from Town Hall, activist and academic Fahad Ali called on the crowd to resist Israeli occupation of Palestine.

“We’ve suffered 75 years of dispossession, denied our rights to life and liberty, under an ever-worsening occupation by a colonial regime that has perpetrated every kind of atrocity upon us,” he said.

Hundreds of attendees cheered as dozens of people waved Palestinian and Aboriginal flags.

“Resistance is justified when Palestine is occupied,” supporters chanted as the crowd marched down Pitt Street.

In Melbourne, the deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, told a United with Israel event in Melbourne last night that the targets of the “horribly unimaginable” Hamas attacks were “not combatants, they were innocents – and that makes this murder”.

“Tonight, Australia’s heart breaks for Israel. In the face of this evil, tonight Australia embraces Israel and all her people,” he said.

But the Lebanese Muslim Association accused the government of hypocrisy in its support of Israel, describing the treatment of Indigenous Australians as akin to the “persecution inflicted on the people of Palestine by Israel”.

“Our First Nations people, the good citizens of Palestine and other oppressed peoples around the world should all be regarded as the same,” the association said.

The Australian National Imams Council said the government should avoid “one-sided statements of support which ignore the Palestinian people”.