Protestors gather around NZ calling on Ardern to take action amid growing Gaza conflict

Source: 1News

Palestinians in New Zealand are staging rallies today to protest against what they call Israeli brutality.

Protestors are calling for the New Zealand Government to take action, and close the Israeli embassy.

The rallies mark what Palestinians call Nakba Day or Memory of the Catastrophe - recalling the loss of their homeland in 1948, when Israel was created.

More than 132 people have died in the most recent conflict between Israel and Gaza. 

It’s sparked calls for a ceasefire from the United Nations and a visit from a United States envoy as thousands of innocent people suffer the consequences of the worst violence in seven years.

Ten centres around New Zealand are holding protests, one in Christchurch was livestreamed to friends and family in Gaza.

A Christchurch-based woman 1 NEWS spoke to said it was difficult to contact family back in Israel, saying that “communication is monitored”.

A pro-Palestinian rally held Auckland.

Maha Elmadani has a cousin in Bethlehem, a Palestinian town south of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

“It’s been a little bit difficult when I communicate with him because phones are communicated over there and monitored and I feel that I can’t speak too much about it for fear that they might, I don’t know, get arrested,” she said.

“I have to be careful what I say and how I treat the situation.

“It’s difficult knowing that they have to deal with this and I am outside of the equation and I’m safe and they have to go through this every day.”

Elmadani says the New Zealand Prime Minister needs to “come out and say that what is happening is wrong”.

“In the same way we fight for other ethnic minorities and for the rights of the Māori in New Zealand, we need to stand up and the Government needs to stand up and say that what’s happening in Palestine under Israeli occupation is wrong.

“People should be able to return to their homes and live peacefully,” she says.