Multiple arrests made after ‘aggressive’ pro-Palestine protesters clash with police

Ten people have been arrested after “aggressive” pro-Palestinian protesters at the Port of Melbourne clashed with police.

Pro-Palestinian protestors are gathering at Victoria’s State Library rallying against the sacking of a presenter by the ABC.

Antoinette Lattouf was let go from her role hosting ABC Radio Sydney’s morning show, hours after sharing a social media post on the war in Gaza.

She’s filed an unlawful dismissal case against the ABC and is accusing it of discrimination.

It’s estimated thousands have turned out in support of the journalist.

Feminist author Clementine Ford is scheduled to speak at the event.

Activists are attempting to disrupt the operations of Israeli-owned shipping company ZIM – a frequent target of the pro-Palestine movement in recent months due to its CEO’s promise to offer the company’s ships and infrastructure to support the Israeli government.

According to Free Palestine Melbourne, the demonstration blocked six shifts from entering the terminal, stranded four ships and 30,000 containers, and forced ZIM ship, Ganges, to anchor in the bay and not enter the port.

Victoria police use what appears to be pepper spray on a protester. Picture: ABC News

More than 200 police officers responded to the demonstration on day four, attempting to push protesters back both on foot and horseback – but the situation quickly grew dire and video footage shows protesters falling to the floor, trapped between a swarm of activists and the police line.

Police officers deployed capsicum spray to control the crowd, forcing them back to Port Melbourne Beach where the demonstration continued.

A spokesperson from Victoria Police said the spray was deployed due to the “aggressive nature of some of the protesters”.

“Police have had a presence at Webb Dock for the past four days to facilitate the safe movement of staff in and out of the facility to enable the continuation of dock operations,” a spokesperson said. 

“This afternoon a significant number of police attended Webb Dock after protestors blocked access to a docking facility.”

Some police officers arrived at the Port of Melbourne on horseback. Picture: ABC News

Police confirmed there were initially about 30 to 40 protestors on site when officers arrived who then spoke to the group, asking them to move on or face trespass charges.

“The number of protestors grew to approximately 120. OC spray was deployed at one point due to the aggressive nature of some of the protesters,” the spokesperson said.

“Police have arrested ten people. Nine have been arrested for trespass and one arrested for criminal damage. Victoria Police will continue to have a presence in the area and will continue to monitor the situation.”

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