For the third week in a row, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world took to the streets to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza, and to express their outrage at the Israeli massacre. Demonstrations were held in every continent, with large cities and small towns all taking part in the actions.
Now, with the announcement of a ceasefire and the commencement of the withdrawal of Israeli troops, there is temptation to ease up the public pressure. However, it is vital that we work to ensure that this does not happen. The public must continue to put pressure on their leaders, because the people of Gaza are not yet free. For Gazans, the ceasefire merely means that the Gaza Strip will go back to being under hermetic siege, returning to the catastrophic situation that was in place for the 18 months leading up to the massacre. Israelâs unilateral ceasefire, therefore, is merely a cover strategy to perpetuate another facet of the occupation.
As such, the public must continue to express the spirit of humanity and solidarity that, with continued collective action, can force an end to the occupation and can work to bring about the fulfillment of Palestinian rights.
As many as 100,000 people marched in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, in a demonstration organized by a coalition of political parties and civil society organizations. Protestors called for the liberation of Palestine and an end to Israeli war crimes.
Some 30,000 people gathered in Ankara, expressing their solidarity by waving Palestinian flags and praising the continuing Palestinian resistance in the devastated Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, on Istanbulâs main commercial street, activists erected mock gravestones reading âKilled while helping the injuredâ and âDied because of lack of medicineâ in protest of the massacre in Gaza.
Other demonstrations were held in many other provinces, including the western provinces of Izmir and Eskisehir, the northwestern province of Duzce, the northern province of Zonguldak and the southern province of Adana.
Several hundred demonstrators took to the streets in Beirut to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza. When they reached the US embassy, Lebanese police began firing water cannons and tear gas at the crowd.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Cairo on Saturday, denouncing the Israeli offensive and criticizing the Egyptian government for not opening the Rafah crossing for regular traffic. The protestors were met by riot police, who beat participants with batons, and arrested dozens of people.
Thousands of Yemenis rallied at al-Sabeen Square in the capital Sanaâa after Fridayâs prayer in support of people Gaza, condemning Israeli massacres and the Arab silence.
Tens of thousands of Pakistanis rallied across the country on Sunday to protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza. In the city of Karachi, which was the site of the largest demonstration, protestors burned effigies of US President George Bush, and of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
After the Friday prayers at Korolo airstrip, hundreds of people took to the streets in the capital city of Kampala to demonstrate their solidarity with the Gazan people. A delegation led Professor Abasi Kiyimba marched to the foreign affairs ministry to present a petition condemning Israel. Protest organizers also called for a boycott of Israeli products.
Several hundred people joined a demonstration and candlelight vigil in San Francisco on Sunday. Many of the chants and slogans were led by children, who made their voices heard in the name of the thousands of children in Gaza whose voices have been silenced.
A demonstration was also held in Minneapolis, where hundreds of protestors braved the cold to express their solidarity with Gaza, and to demand that the US stop funding the Israeli occupation. The same call to halt US funding was also heard in Seattle, as hundreds of people rallied against the Israeli attacks.
Thousands of people took to the streets in several Canadian cities protest Israel’s attack on Gaza and to urge the Canadian government to speak up against Israeli aggression. In Toronto, at least 2,000 people marched through the city to the US and Israeli consulates, decrying the war crimes being committed in Gaza.
In Ottawa, meanwhile, some 500 people protestors gathered to hear speeches at Parliament Hill. After the speeches from Students Against Israeli Apartheid, Not In Our Name, and the Canadian Peace Alliance, many demonstrators proceeded to picked a nearby Chapters bookstore, whose CEOs are strong supporters of the Zionist project.
Similar actions were also planned for cities such as Montreal and Vancouver.
At least 600 people participated in a demonstration in Dublin, condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza. The protest was organized by the Irish anti-war movement, and many of the demands made by the demonstrators were strongly focused on implementing an economic, political and cultural boycott of Israel.
A massive demonstration was held in Rome, as some 200,000 people marched through the city to express their outrage at the massacre in Gaza. The rally was led by a large banner reading âLife, land and liberty for the Palestinian people,â and when the crowd reached the Coliseum, the Muslims in the crowd knelt down to pray before the ancient monument.
In the city of Assisi, several hundred people, including former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema, took to the streets to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza.
In London, at least 3,500 people marched through Trafalgar Square in the centre of the city. One speaker demanded that the British Navy be used to break the siege of Gaza, and deliver much-needed food, water and medicine to the people. Some 200 people who attempted to avoid filter cordons were detained by police. Another demonstration is planned for the day of Barack Obamaâs inauguration.
In Birmingham, meanwhile, over 5,000 people gathered to denounce the massacre. Flowers were laid at the foot of a statue of Queen Victoria in Birmingham city centre for victims of the conflict. Attached to the statue was a doll of a crying child wrapped in blood-stained clothes.
Some 3,000 people took part in a protest in Paris, being led by a banner reading âPalestinian resistance: Stop the French-Israeli collaboration.â Police fired tear gas at the crowd when it reached the Garnier Opera plaza, preventing the demonstration from progressing further.
Several thousand more people joined demonstrations in other cities, such as Lille, Nice and Marseille.
Over 10,000 people marched in Madrid, denouncing the Israeli assault on Gaza in a rally organized by a coalition of several different organizations, including trade unions and the Socialist left party.
Meanwhile, over 60 associations came together on Saturday night in Valencia, where, despite heavy rainfall, the centre of the city was taken over by an estimated 8,000 demonstrators. There were demands for a judicial process to be started against members of the Israeli government for crimes against humanity and genocide.
Elsewhere, more than 4,000 also demonstrated in Alicante and some 300 more in Elche.
Protestors wearing yellow arm bands marked âGazaâ formed a line next to a former football pitch in Sarajevo that was turned into a cemetery during the country’s 1992-1995 civil war.
In Geneva, hundreds of protestors rallied at the UN European headquarters. The demonstrators formed a circle around rows of white bundles, which had been placed on the ground to symbolize the number of dead in Gaza.
In Athens, at least 1,000 protestors marched to the Israeli embassy in condemnation of the assault on Gaza.
Over 1,000 people took to the streets in cities across New Zealand on Saturday. From Auckland to Christchurch to Dunedin, people declared their support for Palestinian resistance to Israeli aggression, and some demonstrators threw balloons filled with red paint at buildings.
Thousands of Australians marched over the weekend to voice their anger at Israelâs offensive in Gaza. About 6,000 people rallied in both Sydney and Melbourne, with smaller demonstrations taking place in other cities. Protestors demanded that the Australian government to take a strong stance in condemning Israel, and called for an end to Israeli war crimes.