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Chants of ‘gas the Jews’ heard at pro-Palestinian protest in Sydney

Chants of “gas the Jews” have been heard at a pro-Palestinian protest in Sydney, Australia, triggering a police investigation.

Australian police said on Tuesday they were looking into a protest outside Sydney Opera House after footage emerged of a small group appearing to chant antisemitic phrases.

It comes after Hamas, Palestinian militants, launched an attack on Israel, triggering retaliatory air strikes on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military.

The conflict has already seen a death toll of around 700 Gazans and more than 900 Israelis, including 260 people who were massacred at a music festival on Saturday.

Around 1,000 pro-Palestinians marched through downtown Sydney on Monday evening to the city’s Opera House, which the government had lit in the colours of the Israeli flag.

Unverified footage shared by the Australian Jewish Association and featured on Sky News appeared to show a small group outside the Opera House lighting flares and chanting “gas the Jews” and “f**k the Jews”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday called the reports of antisemitic slogans “horrific” and said political discourse needs to be dealt with in a “respectful way”.

“We are a tolerant multicultural nation,” he said. “I understand that people have deep views about issues relating to the Middle East conflict but here in Australia we have to deal with political discourse in a respectful way.”

Foreign affairs minister Penny Wong also condemned the protesters, saying there was “no place for antisemitism in our society”.

She told ABC Radio National: “There is no place in Australia for antisemitism or prejudice or hatred of any kind and we should all stand firm against the sort of antisemitic language that unfortunately some engaged [in] – just as we should stand firm against all prejudice.”

New South Wales state police told journalists it was reviewing the footage to see whether offences were committed.

Protest organiser, Palestine Action Group Sydney, defended its right to protest “apartheid” in Israel but condemned the actions of a small number of “vile antisemitic attendees”.

“We are an anti-racist and anti-colonial movement and we refuse to fight racism with racism,” the group said in a post on social media.

“If you are an antisemite, you are not welcome at our rallies and are not a part of our movement. As we did today, we will ask you to leave and we will continue to do this.”

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