Nine people have also died in Israel since fighting broke out on Monday, when the Israeli government said it would not abandon its largest defense against Hamas in years.
The crowd heard a number of speakers from the Palestinian community, human rights organizations and politicians who called for peace in the region and for the Australian government to condemn the violence.
The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, who spoke through an interpreter, told the crowd that he was saddened by the news he had just received that seven members of the same family, including a bride-to-be, were killed in recent attacks.
Law student Ryanne Hussain told ABC that she is deeply concerned for the safety of her family, in particular her cousin, whose university came under fire on Friday.
“My family sends in very disturbing videos with the sound of screaming and screaming, and this is not normal,” said the 22-year-old.
“It’s not that we, as a country, have to sit back and just watch what happens.
“When we stand together, there is so much unity, and where there is unity, there is victory.”
Meanwhile, in downtown Melbourne, protesters with Palestinian flags gathered outside the State Library.
The rally, organized by the Free Palestine in Melbourne Group, heard speeches from speakers, including Adel Salman of the Islamic Council of Victoria.
“My heart is bleeding for Palestine,” he told the crowd.
“My heart is bleeding for all those families who have lost their children, as well as for my parents and grandparents.
“These families sleep in their best clothes because they don’t know if they will wake up alive,” he said.
The crowd joined him in chanting, “Get out, get out, get out, Israel!” And “Free, Free, Strip.”
After the demonstrations, the protesters marched through the streets of downtown Melbourne to the parliament building.
Organizers said at least 4,000 people joined the march, but ABC was unable to confirm this figure with police.
Events in Sydney and Melbourne coincided with Nakba Day, which marked the “day of catastrophe” that marks the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948.
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