3 arrested in Aussie Palestinian protest

Dec. 6, 2009 at 6:47 PM

MELBOURNE, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Three people were arrested Sunday when dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators stormed a Melbourne hotel, officials said.

The arrests came when about 100 protesters jammed against a side door at the Park Hyatt Hotel, where Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom preparing to speak to a crowd gathered at the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The ABC said Melbourne police used horses and capsicum spray to disperse the protesters, who were calling for better treatment for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

"The building wasn't damaged. There was some dirt hurled at police officers, water hurled at police officers," police Sgt. Steve Burke told the broadcaster. "It was a pretty quick event; a couple of minutes and it was all dispersed."

The sergeant said the protesters had broken an earlier agreement with police to stage a peaceful protest, adding, "We are fairly disappointed that they have broken that agreement."

He told the ABC three demonstrators gained entry to the hotel and were arrested.

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