Community Safety

Australian Parliament House: Pro-Palestinian protesters arrested after scaling roof

July 4, 2024

Thursday 04 July 2024
William Tyson and Jade Gailberger
Adelaide Advertisers

A group of pro-Palestinian protesters who scaled the roof of Australian Parliament House have now been arrested by police.

It comes after vision outside Parliament House in Canberra showed at least four protesters on the roof of the building, unfurling a number of banners in support of Palestine.

One banner read “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”

Another raised allegations of “war crimes, enabled here” and “no peace on stolen land”.

The group was seen shouting and chanting pro-Palestine chants as their feet dangled over the edge of the large structure.

In a long and rambling sermon, one protester called for an end to Australia’s “complicity in war crimes”, saying it continued to enable genocide in Gaza.

“The whole damn government, blood on your hands,” the group chanted.

In an embarrassing moment, the protester’s voice began to break from shouting too much, prompting him to take a moment to compose himself.

They also chanted “always was, always will be Aboriginal land” and paid tribute to Julian Assange.

The protest coincided with Independence Day in the US.

Flyers handed out stated that “on the Fourth of July, we emphasise the point that Australia relentlessly continues to enable and commit war crimes as an ally of our great and powerful friends.

“Australia continues to sell arms and parts for the weapons systems being used to kill, maim and dislocate tens of thousands of innocent people, destroy entire towns,” it states.

“To the Albanese government: we will not forget, we will not forgive, and we will continue to resist.

About 11.45am, the four activists were removed from the roof by specialist police. They had earlier been seen throwing paper planes off the roof.

All four were charged with trespass, faced court on Thursday afternoon and were bailed to appear at a later date.

More than 30 AFP officers were at the scene working to remove the activists.

There were also reports of approximately eight climate protesters gluing themselves to the marble floors in the foyer of Parliament House, directly beneath where other protesters are positioned on the roof.

“I can’t keep doing science when it’s ignored, that’s why I’m glued on,” one of the climate activists’ told 7News.

“So I don’t bother with science any more. I’m now a climate activist.”


Shocked MPs were scathing about the security breach and the protest.

Opposition veterans’ affairs spokesman Barnaby Joyce pulled no punches, saying the protesters were “contenders for the dipshit award”.

Opposition home affairs and cyber security spokesman James Paterson said the security breach was “very serious”.

“Over about a decade, tens of millions of dollars was spent fortifying and protecting this building, specifically to prevent intrusions like this on the roof of the Parliament House,” he said on Sky News.

“If someone can get access to the roof, then their access to the building is much easier than it otherwise would be, so it’s very serious that these people have been able to do so and that the security mechanisms in this building have failed to prevent it.”

Shadow foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the security breach sent shockwaves through MPs.

He told Sky News he was bemused at the fact they were able to get there in the first place.

“We stand for freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. But that’s got to be done in ways that don’t put other people in danger and that don’t create massive inconveniences for other Australians as well,” Mr Birmingham said.

“Plenty of Australians have found themselves stuck in hours-long traffic jams or chaos, as extremist protesters have glued themselves to roads and done other things.

Mr Joyce railed at the protesters.

“The issue is that we’ve had the desecration of the war memorials and now we have basically people managing to get through the security cordon of Parliament House,” Mr Joyce said.

“What they can do from there is get into the Queens Cafe.”

Independent Fowler MP Dai Le told Sky News she was “shocked” by the protest, and questioned how activists managed to bypass security.

“I came here to be prepared to talk on your program about the cost-of-living and I was told that (there were) protests happening outside,” she said.

Pro-Palestinian protests have been held around the country since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last October.

The protest took place on the final sitting day of federal parliament before it broke for five weeks

Defence Minister Richard Marles said the government had “confidence” in the way the building was secured.

Mr Marles said he supported the right of peaceful protest but there was no place for engaging in protest that endangers others or defaces public buildings.

“That kind of protest that engages in vandalism or defacing public buildings is disrespectful to every Australian,” he said.

“It’s really important that we do everything we can to take the temperature down.”

An ACT Policing spokesman said the three men and one woman

had been issued with a 24 month ban from parliament.

“The AFP is committed to ensuring the safety of the public and those working in and visiting Parliament House,” he said.

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