Published 04/11/2023 20:06 | Edited 11/04/2023 20:38
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations took place on Saturday in several cities, including Washington, DC; London; Paris; Berlin; Milan and Dakar. In Turkey, a convoy of Palestinian supporters headed to a US military base in the south of the country for a protest that coincided with the arrival of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the country on Sunday.
Since the start of the war, 9,488 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. So far, more children have died in Gaza in this war than in all conflicts across the world in the last four years, according to the charity Save the Children. More than 1,400 people died in Israel, mainly in the October 7 attacks.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Washington, DC, in the largest demonstration since the start of the war on October 7.
“I am surrounded by a sea of protesters, more than I have seen since the start of the war in Gaza,” said Heidi Zhou-Castro of Aljazira.
“The organizers consider this the big event and are expecting somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 people,” she added. “The crowd around me is not just Arab Americans demonstrating in support of the Palestinians in Gaza, but also many Americans from all walks of life.”
An American Jewish protester taking part in the march through Gaza said President Joe Biden needs to stop funding Israel’s army. “I am a human being and I worry about people in Gaza being murdered. I worry about the genocide taking place in the name of the Jewish people by Zionists who do not represent Judaism,” he said.
“I am opposed to the US financing this genocidal war. That’s what we’re doing – it wouldn’t happen if the US didn’t fund Israel,” he said.
Large crowds held protests in London blocking Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus before marching and gathering in Trafalgar Square.
Protesters held “Freedom for Palestine” signs and chanted “ceasefire now” and “by the thousands, by the millions, we are all Palestinians.”
London’s Metropolitan Police estimated that around 30,000 people attended the rally. Police said they made 11 arrests, including one for displaying a poster that could incite hatred, contrary to anti-terrorism legislation.
Earlier, some protesters also gathered outside the BBC headquarters in London in protest against the network’s coverage of the war, which they called “biased.”
Echoing Washington’s stance, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government stopped short of calling for a ceasefire and instead advocated humanitarian pauses to allow aid into Gaza.
Thousands also marched in central Paris to call for a ceasefire with signs reading “Stop the cycle of violence” and “Doing nothing, saying nothing is being complicit.”
It was one of the first large gatherings in support of Palestinians legally permitted in Paris since the start of the war.
In Berlin, around 6,500 people gathered at midday for a demonstration that police said took place under strict conditions. Germany had already banned demonstrations of solidarity with Palestine.
People carrying Palestinian flags and signs reading “Stop the genocide in Gaza” or “From the river to the sea – we demand equality” gathered at Alexanderplatz, a major square in the city center.
One speaker called for an end to “apartheid culture” and an end to the bombing of Gaza.
Around 4,000 protesters marched through the streets of Milan in support of a ceasefire, according to local media.
The demonstration called “Stop the war, without racism” took place at the same time that, in a nearby square, the far-right League party held a rally “in defense of the West”.
In the Senegalese capital, Dakar, people gathered in front of the central mosque with posters and Palestinian flags.
“This protest was supposed to take place last week, but was banned,” reported Nicholas Haque of Al Jazira from Dakar.
“There are many Senegalese, but also the Lebanese Senegalese community also showed up in large numbers to show their support.”
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Istanbul and Ankara, a day before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Turkey for talks on Gaza.
In Istanbul’s Sarachane Park, they held banners that read: “Blinken, the accomplice to the massacre, go away from Turkey,” with a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blinken along with a red “X.”
In the Turkish capital, Ankara, protesters gathered near the US embassy, chanting slogans and holding signs that read: “Israel bombs hospitals, Biden pays for it.”
Meanwhile, a “freedom convoy for Palestine” headed towards the Incirlik military base, near the southern city of Adana, used mainly by Turkish and US forces. Organizers expect thousands of vehicles to converge around the base on Sunday.
Video shows demonstrations in Islamabad (Pakistan), Beirut (Lebanon), Sydney (Australia) and Madrid (Spain):
From Aljazira and News Agencies