SYDNEY: Thousands of protesters from Australia to India rallied to voice their support for Palestinians yesterday, as Israel mounted a ground assault in Gaza and the death toll from air strikes climbed.
In Sydney an estimated 3,000 people demonstrated outside the city’s Town Hall to condemn the military offensive, shouting “Free, free Palestine; free, free Gaza” and holding signs declaring “Shame Israel Shame”.
“Israel is targeting the civilians of Gaza with these bombings, and that is shameful and that is what we condemn,” Greens party senator Lee Rhiannon told the crowd.
As Israel’s air campaign in the Gaza Strip entered its sixth day, the overall death toll rose to 165 with more than 1,000 injured and the UN Security Council called on both sides to declare a ceasefire.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, about 500 people marched in the capital Jakarta shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and carrying Palestinian flags and posters of children killed in the offensive. “This is a show of solidarity for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Gaza who are being oppressed by Israeli occupiers. We Indonesian Muslims share their suffering and pain,” activist Adityo Nugroho said.
Israel began Operation Protective Edge before dawn on Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire by militant groups. In Hong Kong organisers of a pro-Palestinian rally said about 300 people, mostly from the city’s Muslim community took part.
Some held up banners depicting the Israeli flag with the star of David replaced by a swastika, as protesters marched through the streets in the sweltering heat. “We came to support our sisters and brothers in Gaza and our request is that they stop the killing of innocent children women in men in Gaza,” 21-year-old restaurant manager Kashi Anjum said. AFP