Across Europe Saturday: Hundreds of thousands of protesters demand ceasefire in Gaza & support Palestinian Cause

AFP , Ahram Online , Sunday 29 Oct 2023

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched in Britain Saturday calling for a ceasefire as Israel's army intensified its assault on the Gaza Strip.

Spain - Bilbao
Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags and hold signs as they take part in a rally with the slogan Long live the Palestinian resistance. Genocidal Zionism , in support of the Palestinian people, in Bilbao on October 28, 2023. AFP


The protests come as Israel's intense strikes provided cover for its ground forces to step up fighting in Gaza, the United Nations warning thousands more civilians could die.

Israel is now 22 days into its bloody war against the Palestinians and has so far killed at least 7,700 people in near-constant bombardments on the Gaza Strip, including some 3,500 children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

It was the third consecutive weekend that London hosted a large rally in support of Palestinians.

One marcher, Dani Nadiri, 36, said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's call for a "humanitarian pause" in the fighting to allow aid into Gaza and hostages to leave was not enough.

"A full ceasefire needs to happen," Nadiri told AFP. "It's time now to do something rather than let it escalate any further."

The demonstrators gathered at a central point by the River Thames at midday, before making their way to the UK parliament in Westminster.

'It can't go on like this'

Noori Butt, from Luton in southern England, said she just wanted the war to end.

"It can't go on like this. The world is dying and I want lasting peace for everybody. That's the way it should be," said the 38-year-old teacher.

About 100,000 people joined the "March for Palestine" in London according to British media, which also reported scuffles with police.

London's Metropolitan Police deployed more than 1,000 officers to patrol the march.

Police arrested one protester on suspicion of assaulting an officer, and another for making racist remarks and threats to kill.

Expressing support for Palestinians is allowed in Britain but praising Hamas -- a banned in the UK as a "terrorist" organization -- is not.

Other rallies took place Saturday in Manchester and Glasgow, Scotland.

Paris marchers defy ban

Thousands of demonstrators took part in rallies across France on Saturday.

Protesters joined one in Paris, defying a court ban issued on public order grounds. A large contingent of police blocked demonstrators in the centre of the capital.

Among the protesters were elected officials, including a green MP and a far-left lawmaker.

"(The need for) a ceasefire is urgent, to stop killing women, children, and men," said Elsa Toure, the deputy mayor of Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris.

Demonstrator Samia Orosemane carried a sign with the words: "Where has our humanity gone?"

"It is not right that a ceasefire has not been called, that thousands of civilians are dying and no one is saying anything," she said.

"In the country of human rights, we are prevented from protesting," she said of the ban on the march.

An administrative court on Saturday upheld the ban, citing "the serious risk of disturbing public order" amid "heightened tensions linked to the events in the Gaza Strip with a rise in anti-Semitic acts in France".

There was a 135-euro ($143) fine for taking part. By the evening, police said they had made 21 arrests and issued more than 1,350 fines.

Demonstrators also took to the streets in other French cities.

Organizers said 4,000 marched in the southern city of Marseille, while police put the figure at 1,800.

More countries!

In Switzerland, organizers said 7,000 demonstrators gathered in Zurich, with police saying there were "several thousand".

There were 2,000 in Lausanne, 1,800 in Geneva, and over a thousand in Bern.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Bilbao in northern Spain waving Palestinian flags and raising placards denouncing the Israeli war on Gaza with US support in a rally under "Long live the Palestinian resistance. Genocidal Zionism", in support of the Palestinian people.

Earlier in the day, more than a million Turks rallied in Istanbul to support the Palestinian Cause.

The rally was addressed by Turkish President Erdogan, who told the massive crowd that Israel "was behaving like a war criminal" and Hamas was a "liberation movement" not a "terrorist group."

In Italy, thousands of people protested to demand that Israel stop bombing Gaza and to support the Palestinian resistance.

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