SYDNEY (JTA) — Two anti-Israel activists arrested in Melbourne last year were found guilty of assaulting police.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court last week fined Sergio Tobon and Stephen Evans $500 each for the convictions stemming from an anti-Israel demonstration in July 2011 at a Melbourne branch of Max Brenner, an Israeli-owned chain of chocolate shops. Two other protesters were fined $100 for resisting and hindering police, but did not receive convictions.
They were among 16 people charged with a variety of offenses following the protest. The demonstrators targeted Max Brenner because they said it was complicit in Israel’s occupation because its parent company, the Strauss Group, provides supplies to the Israeli Defense Forces. Three policemen were injured in the melee.
Earlier last week, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court had dismissed trespass and besetting charges against most of the protesters — including a Jewish demonstrator — who were arrested during the clash. The ruling said the protesters “did not surround the premises with hostile intent or demeanor.”
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu responded by criticizing the global BDS movement.
“The BDS group in my opinion is better titled as bigoted, dangerous and shameful,” he said. “They have sought to close down businesses just because they are associated with the State of Israel.”
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