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‘The numbers double every week’: Hundreds gather in Dunedin to urge for ceasefire in pro-Palestine rally

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Nov 2023, 4:35pm
Hundreds of protestors gathered in Dunedin to call for a ceasefire in Palestine. Photo / Ben Tomsett
Hundreds of protestors gathered in Dunedin to call for a ceasefire in Palestine. Photo / Ben Tomsett

‘The numbers double every week’: Hundreds gather in Dunedin to urge for ceasefire in pro-Palestine rally

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Nov 2023, 4:35pm

For the fourth week running, hundreds of people have gathered in Dunedin to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

On Saturday, close to 300 protestors gathered at the Museum Reserve before marching on the Octagon, chanting and wielding placards and Palestinian and Tino Rangatiratanga flags. 

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA) spokesperson Rinad Tamimi, who spent her childhood in Gaza, said she had seen the numbers attending the Dunedin rallies double each week. 

“That on its own shows me the support, it shows me the solidarity, it shows me that we are not alone and that everyone is actually starting to wake up and starting to care for humanity,” she said. 

“It’s a humanitarian issue, it’s people dying - we don’t want to talk about politics, we want to stop the killing.” 

Much of her extended family lived in the West Bank and in Gaza, she said. 

“I think that Israeli military is taking advantage of the media having its eyes on Gaza, when actually a lot of things have been happening in the West Bank. There has been a lot of arrests of Palestinians, there has been a lot of killing for Palestinians also in the West Bank.” 

She said she was attending the rallies to stand in solidarity with her family. 

“I pray every day that God just comes up with a miracle that makes everything stop from happening because I worry about my family back home and I worry about my grandparents.” 

“I would love to be able to just go back home one day and just live a peaceful life again.” 

Many of the protestors wielded hand-made placards calling for action. Photo / Ben TomsettMany of the protestors wielded hand-made placards calling for action. Photo / Ben Tomsett 

Many people at the rally waved placards and banners calling for action from politicians. 

‘Ignorance is bliss’ read one featuring images of Chris Luxon and Chris Hipkins. 

“You don’t accidentally kill 10k people,” read another. 

Otago University lecturer Dr Olivier Jutel was in attendance at the rally, saying he had long been a part of the Palestinian solidarity movement as a non-Zionist Jew. 

“It’s unconscionable... Just a couple of weeks ago, they were trying to deconstruct a bombing of a hospital and tell you it’s got to be a rocket misfire, and now it’s a routine thing to just see the hospitals bombed. So it’s a clear war crime, it’s a clear humanitarian crisis,” he said. 

He said it was important for those in New Zealand to lend their voice and bring diplomatic pressure to leaders. 

Hundreds of protestors in Dunedin gathered at the Museum Reserve for the fourth week running. Photo / Ben TomsettHundreds of protestors in Dunedin gathered at the Museum Reserve for the fourth week running. Photo / Ben Tomsett 

Former Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins was also in attendance. 

He said it was a moral responsibility for New Zealand citizens to stand in solidarity with “people who are at the pointy end of injustice.” 

“Dunedin has a long history of supporting movements such as this.” 

He said the number of people in attendance was both “encouraging and depressing.” 

“None of us want to be spending our Saturday afternoons doing this, but while the situation is ongoing this is the least we could do to stand in solidarity with our community and their friends and family around the world.” 

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