A new video has emerged showing the tense clash between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli supporters in Melbourne hours before wild protests broke out near a razed fast-food restaurant the night before.
The footage, believed to have been filmed outside the 7-11 store in Caulfield, in the south-east of the city, shows a group of people gathered on the pavement waving a Jewish flag shaped like the Star of David.
A pro-Palestinian supporter then walks within a few meters of the crowd, sparking an altercation that threatens to escalate into a physical altercation with calls to “go around the corner” until police officers place themselves between the groups.
A person who claims to have filmed the footage said RCS that members of the group had “barked” at him while he was stopped at traffic lights, prompting him to respond.
He added that he “tried to get out of the car but the officer held the door closed” before the light turned green and he drove off.
Protesters gathered outside a 7-11 in Caulfield, Melbourne, on Friday as tensions between Israel and Palestine soar
The man who filmed the footage said he tried to get out of his car, but police held the door closed to prevent the situation from becoming physical.
At one point, a Victoria Police officer is seen in the video raising his index finger to make a “shh” gesture in a vain attempt to try to stop the Palestine supporter from shouting at pro-Israel protesters .
Hours later, protesters were pepper-sprayed and handcuffed after a pro-Palestinian demonstration turned violent outside a popular burger restaurant nearby.
Around 400 protesters from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian debate clashed at 7pm on Friday in Princes Park, near the Burgertory restaurant in Caulfield. Caulfield has a significant Jewish population.
Wild footage showed a huge brawl between the two groups, made up of around 200 members each, many of whom were seen throwing punches as police tried to intervene.
One man was pepper-sprayed and taken handcuffed from the area in breach of peace provisions, while another suffered minor injuries after being hit by a stone.
In a social media post before the incident, Burgertory CEO Hash Tayeh, 32, asked people not to protest after his restaurant burned down.
Mr Tayeh, who grew his business into Australia’s largest independent burger chain after founding it in 2018, had sparked controversy for raising the cry of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” at a rally in Melbourne a fortnight ago.
“There is no benefit to protesting at the Caulfield store because some people will deliberately try to get you to do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing, and then they will use that against you,” he said on his Instagram. story Friday afternoon.
‘We want peace.’
Victoria Police are investigating the circumstances of the fire, which they consider “suspicious”, but do not believe it was politically motivated.
A pro-Palestinian rally descended into chaos at Caulfield in Melbourne on Friday evening.
At Friday night’s protest, pro-Palestinian supporters and pro-Israeli crowds stood on opposite sides of Hawthorn Road and cursed at each other.
Israel supporters lined up on one side of the street as both groups hurled insults at each other
At Friday night’s protest, pro-Palestinian supporters and pro-Israeli crowds stood on opposite sides of Hawthorn Road to hurl insults at each other.
Both sides were seen draped in Israeli and Palestinian flags, while shouting through megaphones.
Police united to create a human wall and close the road in a bid to quell the chaos.
Young Palestinian supporters repeatedly attempted to break through the police cordon during the protest, prompting police to fire pepper spray.
Jewish participants were evacuated from a nearby synagogue when the pro-Palestinian group spilled into the park across the road.
Members of the Jewish community had already been warned to stay away from the burned-out Burgertory.
The Burgertory in Caulfield caught fire at 4am on Friday.
At 7:30 p.m., a synagogue was forced to evacuate when protesters spilled into a park across from the synagogue.
Police officers seen armed with pepper spray
Israel supporters sang as Palestine supporters took time to pray amid protest
Hawthorn Road was closed during the protest, halting traffic and trams
Victoria Police said 200 members from both sides took part in the protest on Friday evening.
A police spokesman said the incidents in which the man was pepper-sprayed and the other hit with a stone would be investigated.
“Our top priority was to maintain the peace to ensure the event did not impact the safety of the community at large,” they said.
“We will continue to maintain communication with all communities that have a keen interest in events unfolding in the Middle East.”
Earlier on Friday, tensions erupted outside the restaurant when a group seen as pro-Palestinian began arguing with others.
Protesters are seen in Caulfield on Friday evening
Hawthorn Road was closed for hours as the protest descended into chaos
The demonstrators were distributed on either side of the street by the police.
Police attempted to maintain order, but were met with resistance from young men who attempted to storm the line.
Victoria Police arrested several people after Friday afternoon’s brawl to “keep the peace”.
“It is believed a verbal altercation took place between around 15 people on Glen Huntly Road just after 2.30pm,” a spokesperson said.
“A number of people were detained briefly in order to maintain order. A woman was briefly arrested for failing to show identification.
“No one was injured during the incident.”
Ten fire crews battled to put out the Burgertory restaurant fire after it caught fire shortly after 4 a.m. Friday.
No one was inside the restaurant at the time.
Mr. Tayeh called the fire “arson” and said it “would not derail my call for peace or silence me.”
“We are working closely with the authorities to investigate this alarming incident and we are determined to help in any way we can,” he said.
“As an Australian of Palestinian heritage and CEO of Burgertory, and as someone who cherishes life in our multicultural Australian society, I am deeply troubled by the spread of rumors suggesting that we harbor anti-Semitic sentiments.
“I cannot stress enough that this could not be further from the truth. My participation in pro-Palestinian rallies was motivated by a desire for peace and a ceasefire, not a desire for violence or division. I have lost 38 loved ones in Palestine and I want the violence to stop.
Mr Tayeh, 32, was filmed at a pro-Palestinian protest in Melbourne on October 29, holding a loudspeaker and chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.
Some interpret this rallying cry as anti-Semitic, as it actually calls for the abolition of Israel by expanding the Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
He vehemently rejected allegations that he held anti-Semitic views and claimed he was a “voice for peace”.