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Fed: Thousands again turn out in Sydney to support Palestinians

18 Jan 2009 9:20 PM

SYDNEY, Jan 18 AAP - Israel's unilateral ceasefire in Gaza has been met with cynicism on the streets of Sydney, with thousands of demonstrators turning out at a rally in support of Palestine.

Organisers claim at least 10,000 people attended the demonstration, which was addressed by journalist John Pilger at Sydney's Town Hall, although other reports put the crowd at about 5,000.

It was the third rally to be held in Sydney during Israel's 22-day offensive, and Gaza Defence Committee said the demonstrations would continue.

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire at 2am (1100 AEDT) on Sunday to end its campaign in Gaza, which killed at least 1,245 people, including more than 400 children, wounded another 5,300 and left much of the territory in ruins.

"What the US government ... and those in Australia have to consider is that if they support such extreme war crimes and such extreme acts of genocide, then they are going to have to deal with the reaction to that," committee spokesman Aaron Benedek told AAP.

"I think what we've probably seen is the largest demonstration in Sydney about Israel.

"I think people are seeing very clearly what the Israeli government and the Israeli army are about."

Mr Benedek said further action was planned to take place in Sydney on Thursday, while a campaign would also begin to encourage Australians to boycott companies who have ties to Israel.

Further public meetings and rallies were also likely to follow, he said.

"There will be a range of ways in which people can continue being part of this international movement for justice in Palestine," Mr Benedek said.