Max Brenner chocolate shop
Photo: Christopher Gabello
Australia: Anti-Israel protest at Max Brenner
Local paper reports 19 arrested at rally against 'Palestinian oppression', 'ethnic cleansing'

An Israeli-owned chocolate shop in Australia became the scene for a pro-Palestinian protest Friday, the Herald Sun reported.


Three police officers were injured and 19 protesters were arrested at the Max Brenner coffee and chocolate shop in Melbourne during the protest, aimed against the Strauss corporation, which owns the franchise. The protesters claim Strauss aids the IDF.



Police plan to file indictments against 16 of the detainees, including charges of insulting a police officer, rioting in public, trespassing, and besetting premises, the Sun reported.


Salem Nasser, one of the organizers of the protest, belongs to a group called Socialist Alternative. He commented on its website that the protest had been against "Palestinian oppression" and "ethnic cleansing".


"People were making speeches about the daily attacks that Palestinians endure ... and scores who are killed every month at the hands of the IDF," the Herald Sun cited him as saying.


Witnesses said that just a short while after the protesters had gathered, special police forces arrived and began to make arrests.


The report also quoted Jewish Labor MP Michael Danby as calling the rally "stupid".


"These people are prejudiced fanatics who should look into their soul," he said. "While 1500 people are murdered in Syria, they launch their own sad little attack on a chocolate shop because it also has stores in Israel."


The protest was a relatively rare occurrence on Australian soil. Max Brenner became subject to calls of boycott after opening stores in the country, and pro-Palestinian activists attempted to get the government to ban Better Place, an Israeli-owned electric car company, from an electrical project in six cities. Another company, Veolia, which operates buses in Australia, has also been the target of such protests.



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