Protest in Paris
Photo: AFP
Edinburgh protestors throw shoes
Photo: Reuters
Voodoo festival in Benin

Global protests call for end to Gaza op

Thousands across Europe, Middle East hold up pictures of dead Gaza children, throw shoes, and chant anti-Israel slogans. Police in Toronto prevent flag-burning in anti-Israel ralli

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities across Europe, Canada, and the Middle East on Saturday to protest against Israel's military operation in Gaza, with sporadic clashes with police as some rallies turned violent.


Police in riot gear confronted around 20,000 protesters waving banners and Palestinian flags outside the Israeli embassy in central London, while 12,000 demonstrators rallied in Hyde Park in support of the Palestinian cause, carrying placards marked "Gaza: Stop the massacre" and chanting "free, free Palestine."


About 30,000 took to the streets of Paris to call for an end to Israel's offensive, with many demonstrators wearing Palestinian keffiyah headscarves and chanting "we are all Palestinians", "Israel murderer" or "peace".


"We are here to demand the end to this unacceptable war. There are more than 800 victims including numerous children and civilians. We cannot accept that," said Communist Party leader Marie-George Buffet at the Paris march.  

Lebanese protest (Photo: AFP)


More than 40,000 people protested against Israel in towns across Germany. An estimated 8,500 rallied at Berlin's Alexanderplatz and then marched through downtown to the city's main train station.


Some 10,000 people also marched in the western city of Duisburg, calling for an immediate end to the violence and a lifting of the blockade of Gaza. They carried signs with slogans like "Freedom for Palestine" and "Down with the murdering of children."


Flag-burning in Toronto

Demonstrators outside the Israeli embassy in Dublin carried a mock coffin, covered with pictures of wounded or dead Palestinian children.


Meanwhile, about 3,000 people gathered in downtown Toronto to protest outside the Israeli consulate in the city. Major streets were closed off and huge traffic jams formed, as anti-Israel demonstrators urged the Canadian government to end its unqualified support for Israel's positions.


Toronto protest (Photo: AFP)

The anti-Israel protestors were countered by a small number of pro-Israel demonstrators, with Toronto police separating the sides. The protestors later marched to the United States consulate building, where they slammed the American support for Israel.


At one point, a group of anti-war demonstrators attempted to burn an Israeli flag, but police officers at the scene intervened immediately and put out the fire. The rally was organized by several pro-Palestinian groups, who said they were protesting Israel's "crimes against humanity."


Voodoo priests offer sacrifices

Thousands of demonstrators in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh gathered in front of the American consulate to toss shoes at the 19th century town house. Sky News television footage showed police recoiling as a storm of shoes flew over their heads.


"They were just flying, like hail through the sky," protest organizer Ian Hood said in a telephone interview. He said protesters were angry at the US for failing to stop the bloodshed in Gaza.


Thousands of Lebanese Shi'ites who turned out for an Ashura festival in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh also protested against Israel. They carried Hizbullah and Palestinian flags, and some carried posters of bloody Palestinian children. "Gaza is the nation's battle," read a banner carried by several of the protesters.


"We tell the people of Gaza and to the elderly in Gaza and to the heroes of the resistance, you are not alone, we are with you ... victory is yours, God willing," said Mohammed Raad, a senior Hizbullah official, addressing the crowd.


In Benin, a small West African state, Voodoo priests offered sacrifices and prayers to gods and ancestors on Saturday to seek an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to other wars in Africa and elsewhere in the world.


"All wars, which we deplore, have their origin for the most part in religious misunderstandings," said high priest Dah Aligbonon before sacrificing a cock and spilling its blood on the ground.


Ohad Pas contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 01.10.09, 21:27
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