THERE were emotional scenes at Civic Park as supporters of a free Palestine gathered to call for an immediate ceasefire to the Hamas-Israeli war.
Palestinian Mohamed Elosmany spoke at the Palestinian Action Group Newcastle (PAGN) static demonstration on Sunday, and said the mood was definitely depressed after the US blocked a United Nations resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza the day before.
"I think there were a lot of hopes that the UN would bring a ceasefire and failing that, the whole world is oppressed," he said.
"I'm Palestinian, me and my wife have family in Palestine, my wife has lost a lot to be honest, to the point where we've lost count of the number of family members she has lost."
Mr Elosmany said he fears a large portion of the Gazan population are being pushed to the south and may eventually be forced across the border.
"Everyone is really, really down with the news, however we're very committed to our cause and we're not going to stop what we're doing with peaceful demonstration until a ceasefire happens," he said.
"Everyone is against genocide, it's very clear, the whole of humanity is against genocide, I believe all Australians are against genocide and the atrocities being committed in Palestine."
About 500 people turned up to the event and Mr Elosany said he was thankful for the support of the local community.
PAGN is led by key organiser Jarrod Moore and supported by more than 20 activists who volunteer their time to raise awareness of the conflict.
Mr Moore said Sunday's demonstration brought with it a mix of highs and lows, but ultimately there was a real feeling of community.
"Politics starts at the local level, we need to influence our councillors even if they don't have as much power as the state or federal government, but we have to influence every level of government if we want to stop selling weapons to Israel and end genocide with an immediate ceasefire," he said.
"We saw that there was a need and we needed to do something, that's all there is to it.
"I just want to put it out there that everyone needs to keep coming, the people of Newcastle need to keep showing up and show their care for this issue to enact positive change."
The group's next event is expected to be in January, and in the meantime Mr Moore encouraged members of the community to attend a vigil at Mayfield Mosque on December 16.