Meanwhile, Jammu & Kashmir police in India arrested 21 people for pro-Palestine protests in Kashmir valley.
NEW DELHI—Lakhs of pro-Palestinians on Saturday held demonstrations in major cities of the United States of America as also Europe, demanding an immediate end to Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza Strip which is continuing since May 7, causing death of more than 150 Palestinian civilians, including children and women, and injuries to hundreds of others, besides destruction of a large number of residential buildings. The media building that housed offices of Al Jazeera, the Associated Press. and the Middle East Eye were also bombed by Israeli air force, claiming that the building was being used for attacks against Israel.
(Meanwhile, Jammu & Kashmir police in India arrested 21 people for pro-Palestine protests in Kashmir valley.)
The demonstrations coincided with “Nakba Day”, to what the Palestinians call “Catastrophe” when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced and driven out of their houses after declaration of Independence by Israel in 1948.
Carrying Palestinian flags in their hands and placards demanding a free Palestine state, the demonstrators strongly condemned the Israeli air raids on civilian population in Gaza strip inside Palestine.
Among the major cities of US where the street demonstrations were held include Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC.
In Philadelphia, the demonstrators condemned the US support for Israel that has been pounding the Gaza Strip for the last one week.
In US capital of Washington DC, pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched from the Washing Monument to National Archives building, denouncing the Israeli attacks on the Gaza. They asked US stop funding Israel and support for a free Palestine.
US Whitehouse, in a media briefing, described Hamas as a terrorist organisation while it is a nationalist organisation fighting for freedom of Palestine from illegal occupation of Israel. However, the conflict this time is different as all the Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Al Jihad, are fighting Israel under the banner of Palestinian Authority. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has told media that it is not the Hamas’ war with Israel but that of Palestinian Authority. By describing the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, the US is, therefore, trying to defend the actions of Israel, saying that Israel has a right to defend itself while it says that firing of missiles from Gaza is not justifiable. US has, therefore, exposed its partisan attitude with regard to Palestine.
In Boston, protesters marched through streets and assembled outside Israeli Consulate, raising slogans in favour of an independent state of Palestine, outside Israel. In San Francisco, the protesters shouted slogans “Palestine will be free”.
A Palestinian taking part in New York compared the killing in Gaza with “genocide”. He said that on one side was Israel, a nuclear armed state and on the other side with people living in villages and holding rocks and stones in their hands. He said that world could easily understand who is to blame for the ongoing conflict. They chanted slogans “Free, free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
In Los Angeles, the protesters carried banners of “Free Palestine” in their hands and blocked several roads in the city.
In Europe, demonstrations were held in all major cities like London, Berlin, Paris and Madrid.
London witnessed the biggest pro-Palestine demonstration, with an estimated over one lakh peoples taking part in it.
The protesters carried placards with slogans of “Stop Bombing Gaza” and raising “Free Palestine” slogans while marching from Hyde Park towards Israeli embassy. According to media reports, protesters were gathered in huge numbers all along Kesington’s High Street where the Israeli embassy is situated. There was a huge security deployed near the Israeli embassy.
Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot himself was among the demonstrators. Addressing the protesters, he said, “Palestinians are this time united. We had had enough of oppression and we will not tolerate this anymore”. He also condemned those countries who are complicit in Israel violence against the Palestinians.
“This time is different. This time we will not be denied any more. We are united. We have had enough of oppression,” Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot told the demonstrators.
One of the protesters identifying himself as 61-year-old Simon Makepace criticised the United States for “unfairly” backing Israel. He urged the US to stop what is happening.
More than 25000 people are reported to have protested in Spanish capital of Madrid. Many of them were seen wrapped in Palestinian flags.
Protesters described what is happening as “genocide.” A Palestinian woman said that Israel is massacring the Palestinians.
Another pro-Palestinian demonstrator asked Spain and other European countries not to support Israel.
A large number of pro-Palestinians demonstrated against Israel in Berlin and other major cities of Germany. Most of the protesters were people of Arabic and Turkish origin. Israeli flags were also burnt outside synagogues in many Germany cities.
They shouted slogans of ‘Boycott Israel”. Protesters in Berlin also clashed with police, leading to several of them being arrested. Protests were also held in many other German cities like Frankfurt, Hamburg and Liepzig.
Authorities in France had banned pro-Palestine rallies. Yet, protests were held in Paris and Montpellier, Toulouse and Bordeaux cities. But police in Paris tried to disperse the protesters by use of force. One of the protesters said that police are trying to stop him from showing solidarity with Palestinians when his own village was bombed by Israel.
Around 100 protesters held demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in Brussels in Belgium.
Anti-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstration was also held in Austria’s capital of Vienna where a protester chanted slogans in Arabic language that was translated by media “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”
Protest demonstrations against Israel’s air strike on Gaza has been taking place every day since May 7, with Turkish President Tayyib Erdogan calling for action under UN or the Organisation of Islamic Conference against Israel. Erdogan has openly said that his country was ready to take part in any action to be taken against the “apartheid” state of Israel. Erdogan also called Israel as “terrorist” state.
In Arab world, Jordan is the only country where a pro-Palestinian demonstration was held. Around 1500 gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Amman where the protesters raised slogans in favour of Palestine and against Israel.