A pro-Palestinian protester holding a baby almost stole Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s thunder when police moved in to remove her while he gave a speech on Monday.
Mr Albanese was opening a new $1.3 million ‘dementia friendly’ reserve in the inner west Sydney suburb of Ashfield, which is part of his federal electorate, when the struggle broke out in the small crowd.
A woman clutching a baby to her side had stood silently among the small crowd of while holding aloft a sign that said ‘Shame Albo’ with a drawing of a watermelon slice, which is a protest symbol used to substitute for the Palestinian flag.
The sole protester could be seen holding a baby and defiantly holding up a sign as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressed a small crown in inner west Sydney
Two officers, believed to be Australian Federal Police delegated to the Prime Minister’s personal protection, approached the woman with one of them grabbing her in a bear hug to manhandle her out of Mr Albanese’s line of sight.
The woman gave a yell and collapsed to the ground thwarting the officers, meanwhile Mr Albanese continued his oration without missing a beat.
Greens Inner West Councillor Dylan Griffiths wrote on Facebook that he was ‘shocked’ by what he saw and immediately rushed over to help the woman ‘when it became physical’.
‘It was rough,’ Mr Griffiths wrote.
‘I went over and told the police to leave her alone (they did, after the failed removal), and (I) stood next to her during ceremony.’
‘Other councillors, MPs in attendance should have joined me in making sure this resident was OK.
‘It doesn’t matter if you are being protested, Albo had the mic and he should have said something. It was just a sign.’
The Lewis Herman Reserve, which Mr Albanese was opening, is designed to be ‘Australia’s first purpose-built dementia park’.
The woman held aloft a sign that read ‘Shame Albo’ along with a drawing of a watermelon slice, which is a protest symbol standing in for the Palestinian flag
Two officers moved in to try to manhandle the protester out of the Prime Minister’s line of sight
‘This park is a break-through in design and delivery of a park to meet the needs of the whole of community,’ Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said.
‘We are excited to deliver a park that supports multi-generational use by the community and reflects the diverse background of the community.’
The use of watermelon slices to stand in for the Palestinian flag dates back to the Six-Day war in 1967.
Following the seizure of Gaza and the West Bank the Israeli government banned public displays of the Palestinian flag.
Watermelon slices were displayed in defiance of the prohibition because they have the same colours as the Palestinian flag—red, black, white, and green.
The Australian Federal Police have been contacted for comment.