Israel boycott supporters arrested for violating bail


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Four pro-Palestinian supporters of an Israel boycott were arrested in Melbourne for breaching bail conditions following a protest outside a Max Brenner chocolate shop.

A spokesperson for the Victoria Police confirmed that the four proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign who appeared Tuesday in Melbourne’s Magistrate’s Court were among the 19 activists arrested July 1 outside the Israeli chocolatier in downtown Melbourne.

Police say they were among more than 300 protesters who marched July 29 on the Max Brenner store, thereby breaching their bail conditions. More than 10 of the 19 activists arrested July 1 had been ordered by the courts not to come within 50 meters — slightly more than 50 yards — of the chocolate shop.

Omar Hassan, who was among the 19 activists arrested July 1, said the four were released on bail, with three paying a surety of $2,000 and one ordered to pay an extra $8,000 by next Wednesday.

“It’s definitely an attempt to silence these protesters,” Hassan said.

The protesters are scheduled to reappear in court on Sept. 5.

The arrests come as the Victorian Liberal government asked Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to investigate whether the boycotters had broken Australian law.

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