Pro-Palestine protesters climb roof of Australian parliament

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By Peter Hobson and Alasdair Pal

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Pro-Palestine protesters climbed onto the roof of Australia’s parliament building in Canberra on Thursday and unfurled banners, one of which said Palestine will be free and accused Israel of war crimes, TV footage showed.

The footage shows four people dressed in dark clothing standing on the roof of the building, holding up black banners, including one reading “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a common cry from pro-Palestine protesters.

One of the protesters began a speech using a megaphone, accusing the Israeli government of war crimes. This accusation is rejected by the government.

“We will not forget, we will not forgive and we will continue to resist,” the protester said.

A handful of police and security personnel advised people not to walk directly under the protest at the building’s main entrance, but there appeared to be no immediate attempt to clear the demonstrators, a Reuters witness said.

“This is a serious breach of the security of Parliament,” said James Paterson, the opposition home affairs spokesman, in a post on the social media platform X.

“The building has been modified at great expense to prevent these types of raids. An investigation is needed.”

The war in Gaza began when Hamas fighters invaded southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostages to Gaza, Israel said.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, the offensive launched by Israel in retaliation has killed nearly 38,000 people and left the densely built-up coastal enclave in ruins.

Both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes in the early stages of the Gaza war, a UN investigation found last month. The UN concluded that Israel’s actions also amounted to crimes against humanity due to the huge civilian casualties.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson in Canberra and Alasdair Pal and Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Michael Perry)

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