SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A clash erupted between police and anti-Israeli protesters outside a Max Brenner chocolate shop in Melbourne.
Nineteen protesters were arrested and three police were injured in the July 2 fracas, the Herald Sun reported.
Sixteen of the activists were charged for various offenses including assaulting police, riotous behavior, besetting premises and trespassing, the paper reported.
The downtown protest, organized by leftist groups, accused Israel of "ongoing ethnic cleansing" and targeted Max Brenner because its Israeli parent company, the Strauss Group, supports the Israel Defense Forces, organizers claimed.
But federal Labor lawmaker Michael Danby, who was in Israel last week, accused the “prejudiced extremists” of hypocrisy.
"While 1500 people are murdered in Syria, they launch their own sad little attack on a chocolate shop because it also has stores in Israel," he was quoted as saying.
Salem Nasser, one of the organizers of the protest, belongs to a group called Socialist Alternative. He [sic] commented on its website that the protest had been against "Palestinian oppression" and "ethnic cleansing".
"People were making speeches about the daily attacks that Palestinians endure ... and scores who are killed every month at the hands of the IDF," the Herald Sun cited him [sic] as saying . . .
Nasser (who, contrary to the pronouns used in the news accounts above, is female) is an architecture student and member of "Architects for Peace". (Read here.)
According to the Socialist Alternative website, that group takes credit for "demonstrations that successfully shut down the Israeli-owned Jericho/Black Pearl cosmetics company" located in the same Melbourne shopping mall. (Read here.) Socialist Alternative advocates what it calls a "Third Intifada". (Read here.) The group takes credit for a similar incident which took place outside a chocolate shop near Sydney two weeks ago. (Read here.)