LONDON - Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through central London on Saturday, demanding Britain take a tougher line against Israel over its military assault on Gaza. Similar protests took place in Cape Town, Paris, Doha, Dublin, Melbourne and Sydney.
The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign said 150,000 people attended the march, the third major demonstration for Gaza in London in the past four weeks.
|Gaza solidarity rally in London|
Protesters packed the main shopping artery of Oxford Street, marching to the US embassy and on to Hyde Park, many of them chanting "Free, Free Palestine" and holding up banners saying "UK - Stop Arming Israel".
The first two protests attracted at least 10,000 people each, according to police, although organizers said it was more like 50,000 each time. Police declined to give a number for Saturday's event.
Protest in London, near the BBC (Photo: Gettyimages)
Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the War Coalition, an umbrella group of NGOs, said: "The level of anger is unprecedented.
"The British government has remained silent whilst Israeli aerial bombardment and a ground incursion in Gaza has killed thousands.
"We are calling for an end to the massacre and the recall of the UK parliament. Our government must be forced to end its support for Israel's siege of Gaza."
Protest in London (Photo: Gettyimages)
The chairman of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in Britain, Hugh Lanning, told AFP recent turnouts had been "amazing".
"That level of support we have never seen before... The world supports Palestine," he said.
Meanwhile a public appeal for aid for Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), on behalf of a number of British charities, had raised £4.5 million ($7.5 million, 5.6 million euros) since its launch on Friday.
|Gaza solidarity rally in Doha|
There were also fresh protests in Paris, which has seen several demonstrations related to the war in recent weeks.
Several thousand people took part in the march, calling for the end of "Israeli aggression" in Gaza and demanding to lift the blockade on the Strip, with a heavy police presence in place to prevent the violence seen at earlier protests.
Protest in Paris (Photo: AFP)
In South Africa, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Cape Town to express their solidarity with the Palestinians and to protest against Israeli operations in Gaza.
"Israel is an apartheid state" and "Stop the Israeli crimes" were written on some of the signs protesters waved, in one of the largest gatherings in the South African city since the end of the Apartheid Regime, 20 years ago.
Protest in Cape Town (Photo: AFP)
"We believe that there was substantially more than 30,000, the number could reach 50,000," the executive director of the Safety of the City of Cape Town, Richard Bosman, told the news agency Sapa.
Chanting "Free Palestine," with some wearing T-shirts with the slogan "Africa understands colonialism", the protesters marched through the streets of downtown to Parliament.
Protest in Melbourne (Photo: AFP)
The event was held at the call of the National Coalition for Palestine, which includes more than 30 religious and civic organizations, trade unions and political parties. Among them were the Youth League of the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party, the Congress of South Africa and the Muslim Judicial Council unions.
Protesters demanded "decisive action in South Africa against the Israeli attacks, killings, displacement and destruction in the Gaza Strip."
Several organizations have called for the expulsion of Israel's ambassador.