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Australian court rejects police request to postpone Nakba march

January 31, 2014 at 2:41 pm

An Australian court has rejected a request made by the police force in Sydney to postpone a march commemorating the Nakba. The police asked for it to be held at the weekend instead of midweek to avoid disrupting the city’s traffic.

Judge Christine Adamson rejected the request after a hearing on Monday evening, explaining that freedom of expression takes precedence over any potential traffic congestion. In any case, she added, the importance of the actual date of the Nakba made it essential for the commemoration to take place on 15th May, not on any other day.

The Australian edition of the Daily Telegraph quoted Judge Adamson as saying, “It isn’t logical to expect from people who commemorate a certain historic occasion to postpone their event in order to coincide with the end of the week.” The timing, she stressed, is based on historical events.

Australian supporters of the Palestinian case had announced that they would organise a march on the anniversary of Nakba Day; it was supposed to start on Tuesday at 5:30 pm local time from the City Hall in Sydney. However, the organisers said that they would delay the start of the march until 7pm out of respect for police concerns about traffic congestion.

The Chief Executive Officer of the New South Wales’ Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, expressed his frustration that the event was taking place at all. “We should not be importing overseas conflicts onto the streets of Sydney,” he complained.