Burgertory fire Melbourne: Disturbing moment store burst into flames revealed ... trends now
Shocking video has emerged of the moment a Melbourne burger store is set ablaze in an incident that sparked wild protests between Israel and Palestine supporters.
Burgertory's Caulfield branch in Melbourne's south-east burned down about 4am on Friday. No one was inside when the store went up in flames.
The footage shows a white-hot flash as an explosion appears to go off inside the store before two figures in hoodies can be seen running off down the street.
Ten fire crews battled to extinguish the blaze, which appears to have gutted the restaurant and shattered its glass windows, for around half an hour.
Hash Tayeh, who transformed his business into Australia's largest independently-owned burger chain after founding it in 2018, had sparked controversy for leading cries of 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free' at a Melbourne rally a fortnight ago.
There have since been a number of incidents in the suburb as tensions escalate.
The area in Melbourne is known for having a large Jewish population.
Hours after the fire, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine supporters clashed outside a nearby convenience store before huge protests involving about 400 people erupted on Friday night.
CCTV of the fire breaking out on Friday appears to show an explosion and two people running away
Mr Tayeh (pictured) vehemently denies that he holds anti-Semitic views and has repeatedly called for 'peace and unity, an end to killing and suffering on both sides'
Burgertory's Caulfield branch in Melbourne's south-east burned down around 4am on Friday (pictured)
Free Palestine Melbourne has since apologised for holding its protest near the Caulfield Jewish synagogue which resulted in its evacuation.
'We apologise to the local Jewish community for the protest location that led to the evacuation of the synagogue, for any fear they may have felt and for the cancellation of Shabbat.
'We should not have gathered at this location.
'It was never our intention to disrupt or intimidate Jewish worshippers.'
The statement added the protest was to show support for Mr Tayeh.
'Hash Tayeh and all Palestinians have every right to expect that they are free to live and work without racism or hatred,' the statement said.
'Burgertory must have the right to feel safe not just in Caulfield but anywhere in Melbourne and Australia.
'This human right must be afforded to all businesses and workers in Caulfield but especially those from diverse backgrounds.'
On Saturday, Premier Jacinta Allan condemned the violence and said she had spoken to police about an increased presence in the area.
Ms Allan said anti-Semitism in every form and attacks on the Islamic community were both unacceptable.
'We cannot let violence in the Middle East beget violence on the streets of Melbourne,' she told reporters.
The inside of the burger restaurant after the fire (pictured)
Israel supporters lined one side of the street as both groups hurled abuse at each other during a wild protest on Friday night
A pro-Palestine rally descended into chaos in Caulfield in Melbourne on Friday night
Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the violence in Caulfield was unacceptable.
'There is no place for violence, no place for anti-Semitism and no place for Islamophobia in Australia,' Ms Wong said.
Police are treating the shop fire as suspicious although Inspector Scott Dwyer said he was confident it was not religiously or politically motivated.
'I would warn people not to make assumptions or draw lines of inquiry that aren't there between this incident and anything else that is occurring,' he said on Friday.
New video has also emerged of the tense standoff between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel supporters in Melbourne hours before wild protests broke out
The footage, understood to be filmed outside the 7-11 store in Caulfield in the city's south-east, shows a group of people gathered on the footpath holding up a Jewish Star of David flag.
A pro-Palestine supporter then drives by just metres from the crowd, instigating a shouting match that threatens to escalate into a physical altercation with calls of 'step around the corner' until police officers stand between the groups.
Protesters gathered out the front of a 7-11 in Caulfield, Melbourne on Friday as tensions between Israel and Palestine soar
Hours later protesters were pepper sprayed and handcuffed when the pro-Palestine demonstration descended into violence outside a nearby popular burger joint.
An estimated 400 protesters from both sides of the Israel-Palestine debate clashed at Princes Park near the Burgertory restaurant in Caulfield at 7pm on Friday. Caulfield has a significant Jewish population.
Wild footage showed a huge scuffle kick off between the two groups, made up of approximately 200 members