Minns reveals major protest costs $1m to police as supporters rally in Sydney11/14/2023
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Thousands gathered in Sydney on Sunday at separate rallies to support Israeli and Palestinian communities, as NSW Premier Chris Minns revealed the cost of policing a major protest ran as high as $1 million.
Rallies and protests have been a regular feature in Sydney’s CBD since the October 7 Hamas attacks.
Thousands gathered at a pro-Palestinian protest at Sydney’s Hyde Park on Sunday.Credit: Dean Sewell
On Sunday morning, members of Sydney’s Jewish community and supporters gathered at the Entertainment Precinct in Moore Park, calling for the “complete destruction” of Hamas and demanding the release of 240 people being held captive in Gaza.
Organisers said thousands attended the solidarity vigil, some waving Israeli and Australian flags while others wore posters of those kidnapped.
Speakers told the crowd that Australian Jews were facing unprecedented local antisemitism, urging them to continue to stand up for the state of Israel.
The rally was held amid tight security and a significant police presence.
Pro-Palestinian protesters called for an immediate ceasefire.Credit: Dean Sewell
On Sunday afternoon, thousands more gathered at a pro-Palestinian protest at Sydney’s Hyde Park to call for an immediate ceasefire and condemn the failure of the Australian government to use its influence to end the siege of Gaza. There was also a heavy police presence.
Supporters bore placards and messages such as “Palestinian lives matter” and “We stand with Gaza”, and wore T-shirts proclaiming “Stop the genocide”.
Demonstrators booed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese amid criticism of the government declining to exert pressure on Israel to end the war.
Police did not provide crowd estimates for either rally.
Sydney’s Jewish community at a vigil in Moore Park on Sunday.Credit: Edwina Pickles
Minns said major protests could cost the government more than $1 million to police.
The premier said that the large number of police required for the regular protests was an expensive exercise for the government but one that could not be avoided.
“It’s costing a lot, it is in excess of $1 million for a major protest and the reason for that is that there’s a large police presence associated with these protests,” Minns said.
“They’re not just to maintain safety of the community and assets and people but also to monitor for those fundamental principles that we have in NSW around racial vilification and hate speech.”
Sydney’s Jewish community gather for the Set Them Free solidarity vigil at The Entertainment Quarter.Credit: Edwina Pickles
Minns said there have been “good discussions in recent times” between police and the Palestine Action Group, which has maintained that it did not have any role in antisemitic chants during a protest at the forecourt of the Opera House when its sails were illuminated in the Israeli flag colours.
“In recent weeks, there have been good conversations between police and these groups, which have kept these protests civil, but they’re going to have to continue to be [civil] because it’s our responsibility to keep the community safe,” Minns said.
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