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William Ton and Maeve Bannister

'Keep fighting': school students' promise for Palestine

Hundreds of students showed up outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Students have again heeded the call of their peers to skip school as they turned out to block streets in Australian cities in support of Palestine.

About 300 students showed up outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station on Thursday to demand Israel end the siege and occupation in the Palestinian territory.

"Since we were here last, the truce has come to an end and the horrors have only gotten worse," one speaker told the crowd.

"We have to keep fighting until Palestine is free."

More than 14,000 people in Gaza have been killed since Israel declared war on Hamas.

On October 7, militants crossed the border into Israel, killing more than 1200 people and taking more than 200 hostages.

The Australian government lists Hamas, which controls Gaza, as a terrorist organisation.

On Thursday night, hundreds from Sydney's Jewish community gathered at a vigil for the 138 hostages yet to be released.

The event marked two months since October 7 and coincided with the first night of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday known as the festival of light. 

Organiser Lauren Placks said the idea for the vigil was to shine a light in darkness with prayers, hope and resilience. 

"There's strength in us coming together and uniting," she told AAP. 

"We won't stop doing events like this until all the hostages are back where they belong. Our Jewish community is stronger than its ever been, we're united and we won't give up."

As the sun set, the "lights of hope" illuminated as multiple speakers led prayers and spoke in support of the safe return of the hostages. 

Members of Sydney's Jewish community turned out for the "Lights of Hope" vigil. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

In Melbourne, rally organiser Gisele, 17, said students were protesting to give a voice to the voiceless.

"We are here defying not only our schools but our government that is complicit in this genocide," she told the crowd.

The students also called on the Australian government to cut all ties with Israel until their demands were met.

The crowd marched down Swanston Street towards Melbourne Central shopping centre blocking cars and trams as chants of "Free Palestine" and "Israel out of Palestine" rung out to the curiosity of onlookers.

The students staged a sit-in at Melbourne Central, where a large banner was unfurled calling for Israel to "End the Genocide", before ending the protest on the steps of Old Parliament House.

Kaan, 15, felt helpless watching the conflict from afar and not being able to do anything about it.

"We're in Australia and not in Palestine. We can't fight back. The only time we can actually fight back is through a protest," he told AAP.

Similar rallies were held in Sydney, Canberra and Wollongong.

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