Protests erupt across world after Israeli raid
(AFP) – Tens of thousands of people joined angry protests across the world Monday after a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, demanding retaliation and showing support for the Palestinians.
In Turkey crowds took to the streets in several cities to vent fury after the storming of a Turkish passenger boat in the flotilla that left at least nine dead, most of them believed to be Turkish nationals.
“Damn Israel!”, “A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye, revenge, revenge!” yelled protesters in Istanbul where about 10,000 people converged on the central Taksim square after marching from the Israeli consulate.
“Turkish soldiers to Gaza,” shouted some, as others torched Israeli flags.
“I call on the government to expel the Israeli consul… And if necessary, we are ready for war,” Seref Mangal, 40, told AFP. A banner carried by the crowd read: “Close down the Zionist embassy.”
In the capital Ankara about 1,000 people gathered outside the residence of Israeli ambassador Gabby Levy and shouted “Damn the Zionist murderers!” and “Israel will drown in the blood of the martyrs!”.
They threw eggs and plastic bottles into the garden of the residency. Reports said demonstrations were held in dozens of cities across the country.
In London more than 1,000 people — some of whom had friends on the ships carrying aid to blockaded Gaza — protested outside the residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Israeli embassy.
Chanting “Free Palestine” and brandishing the Palestinian flag and banners condemning Israeli “war crimes”, activists blocked a major route through the capital. Hundreds of police stood guard outside the embassy.
“We have close friends on the boat on which people were killed and we are here waiting for news,” said Kate Hudson, the chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
In Paris about 500 people joined a noisy protest near the Israeli embassy, waving Palestinian flags and shouting “Palestine will survive, Palestine will conquer”.
Scuffles broke out when a dozen rival protestors waving Israeli flags approached, prompting police to fire tear gas, but calm was soon restored. Another 1,300 people rallied in the city of Lille.
Greek police used tear gas to force back around 1,500 protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Athens, while another 2,000 people rallied in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
In Lebanon thousands of Palestinian refugees and activists waving Palestinian flags and banners marched in the country’s 12 refugee camps.
“Where is the international community? Where are human rights?” they chanted in the Al-Bass camp in the southern coastal city of Tyre.
In Beirut hundreds gathered in the city centre called on Israeli embassies in the Arab world to be shut down and for Israeli ambassadors to be expelled.
At a demonstration of about 3,000 people at the Beddawi camp in the northern city of Tripoli, anger also turned on Israel’s traditional ally, the United States.
“God is great and America is the greatest evil,” they chanted. “Give us weapons, give us weapons and send us on to Gaza.”
There were even demonstrations inside Israel, where hundreds of protestors flooded the streets of the northern Arab city of Nazareth as Israeli police raised the level of alert across the country and deployed reinforcements.
More than 2,000 people in Amman protested what Jordan’s Information Minister Nabil Sharif dubbed a “heinous crime”.
Demonstrators included Islamist opposition leaders and carried banners that read “We Will not Surrender” and “Break Gaza Blockade.” They also demanded that Jordan shut down the Jewish state’s embassy and expel the Israeli ambassador.
In Iran’s capital Tehran, dozens of people pelted stones at the UN office chanting: “This savage regime of Israel must be wiped out.”
They burnt the Israeli flag and tore up pictures of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In Pakistan politicians, lawmakers and journalists staged a peaceful protest in Islamabad, denouncing the killings and calling on the United Nations and the United States to intervene.
Hundreds of Bosnians marched through Sarajevo, brandishing Palestinian flags. “We wanted to raise our voice to denounce a new attempt at genocide in modern times,” one of the organisers, Edvin Cudic, told Srna news agency.
Around 200 people demonstrated outside the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva demanding an inquiry into the raid, while in the Netherlands 400 rallied outside the Israeli embassy in The Hague.
There were also protests in Egpyt while in Kuwait activists were planning rallies.