This frame grab taken from video footage provided by Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) on July 4, 2024, via AFPTV shows protesters with banners above the main entrance to Parliament House in Canberra. Image Credit: AFP

SYDNEY: Protesters scaled Australia’s national parliament on Thursday, unfurling banners reading “Palestine will be free”, and accusing Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of complicity in the Gaza war.

The small protest follows recent divisions within the Labor government, which suspended a Muslim senator who crossed the floor to vote in favour of Australia recognising a Palestinian state.

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Senator Fatima Payman said she had been “exiled” after supporting the parliamentary motion - put forward by the Greens party - in defiance of government policy.

Like many of its Western allies, Australia does not recognise a Palestinian state. Canberra has expressed its support for an eventual two-state solution.

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Protest group Renegade Activists told Australian media they would “not forget” and “not forgive” Albanese, accusing him of complicity in the Gaza Strip’s bloodiest-ever war.

Clad in black and wearing traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarves, the small group of protesters climbed the facade at the entrance to Australia’s parliament before rolling out several large black-and-white banners.

Opposition senator James Paterson said it was a “serious breach of the parliament’s security”.

The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza including 42 the Israeli army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,953 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to figures from the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

The public entrance to Australia’s parliament was briefly locked down on Thursday after a separate group of climate activists glued themselves to pillars in the lobby.