Man with an Israeli flag is arrested and dragged away by police ahead of pro-Palestinian protests set to erupt at the Sydney Opera house as Anthony Albanese issues a desperate plea

Dramatic footage has emerged of a man being arrested as police brace for a night of intense protests following Hamas terror attacks on Israel.

The rally, organised by the Palestine Action Group Sydney has gathered at Town Hall in Sydney’s CBD at 5.30pm tonight, with attendees set to march to the Sydney Opera House at around 7pm.

The march will coincide with the state government’s decision to illuminate the landmark in blue and white – the colours of the Israeli flag – in support of Jewish community groups in NSW.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called on pro-Palestinian protesters to abandon a Sydney rally slated for Monday night.

But as protesters arrived, a man clutching an Israeli flag was dragged away by police at Town Hall.

The man can be heard repeatedly saying ‘I have done nothing wrong’.

Appearing on 2GB’s Drive with Chris O’Keefe, Mr Albanese called on people to respect the ‘loss of life’ that occurred on the weekend after Palestinian military group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, leading to the death of more than 1100 civilians.

‘I think people need to really take a step back,’ he said, speaking on 2GB’s Drive with Chris O’Keefe.

‘What has occurred here is completely indefensible. 

‘You can’t target civilians like what occurred over the weekend where you had thousands attending a music festival.

‘The idea that you would have people launching essentially indiscriminate shooting at random, just trying to cause as much harm and bloodshed as possible, is just an atrocity that deserves condemnation of all.’

However, Palestine Action Group Sydney organiser Josh Lees criticised both the state and federal government for taking a ‘one-sided stance’.

‘The media and government are decrying the loss of life of civilians. What about Palestinian civilians. Why don’t their lives matter?’ he said.

‘Where is the condemnation for the promises coming from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to target every corner of the Gaza Strip in the coming days.’


Prime Minister Anthony (pictured) has pleaded with pro-Palestinian protestors to abandon a protest planned at the Sydney Opera House on Monday night

The activist group condemned Israel for launching a ‘full scale war on Palestine’ and demanded Australia ‘cut ties with Israel’.

‘It is the responsibility of everyone who stands for justice, freedom, against apartheid, colonialism and imperialism to stand up for Palestine,’ the event description read.

‘End Israeli apartheid, the occupation, the siege on Gaza.’

As of 5pm on Monday, more than 250 people had said they would be attending the rally.

A statement issued by the NSW Police confirmed officers ‘will have a presence at the protest’ and ‘will work with protesters to ensure there are no breaches of the peace and there is minimal impact to the community’.

‘The NSW Police Force is aware of upcoming planned protest activity at Sydney Town Hall today (Monday, October 9, 2023) and will monitor the situation accordingly,’ the statement said.

‘The NSW Police Force recognises and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly; however, the first priority for NSW Police is always the safety of the wider community.’

On Sunday evening, pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in the southwestern Sydney suburb of Lakemba, where the Hamas attack was labelled as a ‘day of pride’ and a ‘day of victory’.

The demonstrations were criticised by Anthony Albanese, who condemned people who supported the violence.

‘There’s no victory with the slaughter of innocent people,’ the Prime Minister told Sunrise on Monday.

‘The capturing of the people and taking them back to Gaza represents an extraordinary action by Hamas. And Israel, of course, has a right to defend itself, and it will.’

NSW Police say they will closely monitor the rally. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Seb Haggett

NSW Police say they will closely monitor the rally. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Seb Haggett

Foreign Minister Penny Wong reiterated Mr Albanese’s concerns and said the ‘targeting of civilians and the taking of hostages is never a cause for celebration’.

The planned protest will occur hours before the Sydney Opera House will be illuminated in blue and white at 7.30pm as an act of solidarity with Jewish communities across NSW.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the government was working to identify whether any Australians had been involved in the attacks.

‘We are deeply concerned about the horrific attack by Hamas on Israel and those who have been kidnapped,’ he said.

‘We will continue to work to ensure that we provide all support possible to those impacted across our state and are monitoring the situation closely to learn if any NSW citizens that are currently living in, on holidays or pilgrimage in the Middle East are impacted.’