The Jewish heartland of Melbourne saw violent scenes between Palestinian and Israel supporters on Friday.
Free Palestine Melbourne, the organiser of a pro-Palestine demonstration in Caulfield on Nov. 10, has apologised to the local Jewish community for what eventually turned into a violent clash next to a synagogue.
Caulfield, a suburb with a significant Jewish community, saw violence erupt between supporters of Israel and Palestine after a Palestinian-owned restaurant was destroyed by fire in the morning.
Victoria Police said that they were “very confident” the incident was not sparked by racial or political motivations, despite Palestinian supporters rallying in the area that evening, waving the Palestinian flag and chanting “From the river to the sea.”
In response, the local Jewish residents gathered, waving Israeli flags while chanting “Bring them home,” referring to over 200 hostages still held captive by Hamas.
The crowds on both sides continued to grow and exchanges became tense and heated. Police were called in to intervene and separate the two sides.
At around 9 p.m., pro-Palestinian protesters stormed towards the pro-Israel counter-protestors, breaking the police line and sparking physical clashes between both sides. Rocks were also allegedly thrown.
Police officers used pepper spray in an attempt to contain the violence.