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Pro-Palestinian protesters at carols prompt security review

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26 December 2023, The Age / AAP, by Shelby Garlick & Alex Crowe

Security at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl will be reviewed after pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the stage during the live broadcast of Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve.

Children were rushed off the stage as two protesters ran across it waving Palestinian flags about 8pm.

A 21-year-old woman from Brunswick was arrested and police moved on a second person following the demonstration.

An Arts Centre Melbourne spokesperson said yesterday that everyone had the right to protest peacefully ‘‘but not at the expense of the safety of others’’.

The spokesperson said the incident was being managed by police and it would be inappropriate to comment further. However, it is standard practice to review arrangements after a security breach.

Police said the arrested Brunswick woman had been issued with an infringement notice for possession of a controlled weapon. They did not provide details on the type of weapon the woman allegedly took to the carols.

Security guards quickly removed one protester as the other tried to grab the microphone from host David Campbell, managing to say ‘‘kids are dying in Gaza’’ before they were also taken away by security.

After both protesters were removed, Campbell appealed for calm and assured people that the children about to perform were safe.

‘‘They’re allowed to have their moment, they’re allowed to have their time in the sun, but we did have kids here, so we wanted to make sure those kids are safe, they’re gonna be back out in a second,’’ Campbell said as he attempted to reassure the crowd.

‘‘It’s a very hard time in this world, it’s a hard time for us all to come together on a night like this when there’s a lot of pain out there. We’re going to just settle things down for a moment, and we’re all going to be fine.’’

The children returned to the stage shortly after the disruption.

Another two protesters were denied entry at the gates, police said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called for a harmonious Christmas following the demonstration, telling reporters at a lunch in Sydney yesterday that the holiday was a time for all people to come together.

‘‘I have a very firm view that Australia’s social cohesion is absolutely critical and we need to bear that in mind in all of our actions,’’ he said.

Albanese served Christmas lunch to the homeless at the Exodus Foundation in Sydney’s west, joined by NSW Premier Chris Minns.

‘‘This is a time in which we come together as a nation,’’ Albanese said. ‘‘It’s important that be cherished and nourished and that we don’t seek to divide.’’

Paul Kelly, G Flip and Casey Donovan were among the performers who lit up the stage for the annual Christmas Eve concert on Sunday night.

They were joined by the cast of musicals Grease and Wicked, as well as carols regulars Denis Walter, Marina Prior and Silvie Paladino.

The event raises money for Vision Australia’s children’s services.

Carols by Candlelight, which is broadcast live by Channel Nine, the owner of The Age, has been held on Christmas Eve in Melbourne since 1938.

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Article source: The Age / AAP | Shelby Garlick & Alex Crowe | 26.12.23

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000