Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

Protesters took to the streets of London, Berlin, Rome and the French city of Marseille over the weekend calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the safe delivery of aid.

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Huge crowds gathered in countries across Europe on Saturday in support of Palestinians and the Palestinian territories – two weeks after Hamas launched its major offensive against Israel.

For the second consecutive weekend, demonstrators took to the streets of London – voicing an anti-war message.

Police in London estimated around 100,000 people took part in the rally, chanting “Free Palestine”, holding banners and waving Palestinian flags.

The protesters marched through the city before congregating outside Downing Street, the official residence of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

In Rome, hundreds of protesters called for a stop to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Waving Palestinian flags, the demonstrators marched with the cry of “Free Palestine!” and held banners that read: “No peace until we get freedom.”

“Israel carries out war crimes there, crimes against humanity there, and the international community has never acted,” said Maya Issa, president of the Movement of Palestinian Students in Italy, who organised the demonstration.

Despite a ban on demonstrations issued by Berlin police, several hundred pro-Palestine demonstrators marched unhindered through the streets of the German capital.

Present in force, the police surrounded the demonstrators and finally allowed the procession to move on.

Last week, Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said German police had recorded more than 1,100 offences in relation to the Israel-Gaza conflict since Hamas launched its deadly attack earlier this month.

At the same time, thousands of people in Berlin gathered at a demonstration called to show opposition to antisemitism and support for Israel. 

People carried Israeli flags or posters with photos of some of the people reported to be missing or held by Hamas as hostages.

The protest, organised by a broad alliance of various organisations, comes as antisemitic incidents have been rising in Germany following the violent escalation of the war in Gaza.

The organisers estimated that over 20,000 people took part; police put the number at 10,000.

In response to a call by several associations, around a hundred people gathered near the old port of Marseille in southern France to call for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“In Marseille, we want to take action” and fight “against this climate of anxiety that is spreading”, Kamel Fassatoui, head of a local Emmaus branch that organised the rally with the Bouches-du-Rhône Human Rights League (LDH), said.

“It’s not about taking sides. We want to be the voice of peace. We need to put pressure on our politicians”, he added through a megaphone.

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