Community Safety

Pro-Palestine protesters scale roof of Australia’s Parliament House to unfurl banners criticising war in Gaza

July 4, 2024

Thursday 04 July 2024
Karen Middleton and Josh Butler
The Guardian

Some areas of Australia’s federal parliament were locked down as pro-Palestine protesters climbed onto the roof of the building in Canberra and unfurled a banner declaring “war crimes … enabled here”.

Thursday’s protest focused on the war in Gaza appeared to be coordinated with other actions highlighting the climate crisis and Indigenous rights.

Members of the public were cleared from Parliament House on the last sitting day of a two-week session before politicians head home for the six-week winter break.

At about 10am on Thursday, anti-coal protesters in T-shirts emblazoned with “Rising Tide” initially drew police and parliamentary security officers to the foyer inside the building.

They glued themselves to marble pillars and while they were being dislodged and escorted outside, a second set of protesters appeared to climb over a wall and onto a portico above the main entrance to Parliament House.

The pro-Palestine activists unfurled banners protesting against the Gaza war and the treatment of Indigenous Australians, including one sign above the building’s public entrance that stated “war crimes” with a list of conflicts and a red inverted arrow that bore the words “enabled here”.

The activists – who issued a press statement calling themselves Renegade Activists – launched paper planes from the roof that also bore the words “war crimes” and detailed grievances. The protesters linked their action to 4 July – American independence day – and condemned Australia’s support for the US in global conflicts.

The activists perched on top of the building read out a statement that called for an end to “US and Australian support for the genocidal state of Israel”.

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

The group also stated: “Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.”

The federal opposition called for an investigation into Thursday’s breach following a $120m upgrade to the building’s security in 2017.

The Coalition’s home affairs spokesperson, James Paterson, said: “This is a serious breach of the parliament’s security. The building was modified at great expense to prevent incursions like this. An investigation is required.”

The climate protest was organised by the group Rising Tide.

A spokesperson, Shaun Murray, said the group comprised about 50 demonstrators including about a dozen who glued themselves to pillars inside the foyer.

Murray said the climate was passing critical tipping points and it was wrong for Australia to continue fossil fuel exports as if it was “business as usual”.

Asked whether his group knew other demonstrations would occur at the same time, Murray said: “No. I guess it’s just democracy in action. This government has got a shocking record on genocide and a shocking record on climate.”

The rooftop protesters climbed down after two hours and were detained by Australian federal police (AFP) officers. Police later confirmed four people were arrested.

“They have also been issued with 24-month banning notices from APH,” the police said in a statement.

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

Recent News

All Posts