Vashti Kenway, Mondoweiss, July 24, 2012
Australian pro-Palestine activists have had a major victory in their year long court battle with the Victorian state government. A Melbourne magistrate has dismissed the substantive charges against the protesters known as the Max Brenner 16.
The activists were arrested last July 2011 at a demonstration against the Max Brenner chocolate shop; a company owned by the Strauss group which is renowned for its financial and moral backing of two of the most murderous brigades in the Israeli military, the Golani and Givati. These units are notorious for their malicious attacks on Gaza in the assault in 2008/ 2009 and more recently as the shock troops for the Israeli colonies in Hebron.
The charges, ‘trespass in a public place’ and ‘besetting’, were pursued by the Victorian police in a 17 day case, which saw 26 police witnesses, 4 civilian witnesses called to the stand and mounted an estimated 1 million dollars in court costs. The time, money and effort devoted to the case reveals the determination of the Victorian police and the Australian Zionist movement to criminalise dissent and to crack down on pro-Palestine voices. Continue reading