(Paris) Thousands of people demonstrated again on Saturday in several European metropolises to support the Palestinians and demand a ceasefire in Gaza, at 43e day of the war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Israel.
In London, rather than one large procession like the previous five Saturdays, several rallies and parades were organized.
In the north of the British capital, hundreds of people demonstrated near the office of Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer, who is criticized for his refusal to call for a ceasefire.
Like Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he calls for pauses to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.
“We are here to put pressure on the government and on Keir Starmer as leader of the Labor Party so that they put pressure on the Israeli government for a ceasefire,” a demonstrator named Aziz, who refused to give his last name.
In France, after a first wave of bans decided by the public authorities, pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched for the third consecutive weekend, sometimes braving, as in Paris, pouring rain.
According to the CGT, one of the main French unions which had relayed the collective’s calls for demonstrations for a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, 100,000 people took to the streets in the country, including 60,000 in Paris where several party representatives leftists were present in the procession.
“This is a serious time for our Palestinian friends,” Bertrand Heilbronn, president of the France Palestine Solidarité association, declared to the press. Describing the “indescribable suffering for the Palestinian people”, demanding “an end to the bombings”, “the ground offensives” and the “lifting of the blockade” of Gaza, the activist of the Palestinian cause also questioned the “illegible position” of the French executive “which shames our country”.
In Portugal, thousands of demonstrators marched in the center of Lisbon, behind a “Free Palestine” banner, chanting in English “Palestine will be free”.
“I am here to support the Palestinian people who have the right to have a state”, to “put pressure on Western governments so that they withdraw their political, diplomatic, economic and military support for Israel” and to demand the “stopping the “ongoing genocide,” testified Rui Faustino, a 49-year-old librarian wearing a black and white keffiyeh.
Candles and minute of silence
In Amsterdam, two demonstrations took place in the afternoon a few kilometers from each other, one calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, the other demanding the release of hostages held by the Hamas.
No arrests were made, a police spokesperson told the Dutch news agency ANP, according to which the rallies took place “peacefully”.
In Geneva, 4,000 people, according to the organizers, marched to the Place des Nations, in front of the European headquarters of the United Nations, behind a banner “Stop the genocide in Gaza”.
Protesters lit candles in the shape of a map of Gaza and unfurled a gigantic Palestinian flag, before observing a minute of silence in memory of all those killed in the Palestinian territory.
In Poland, a few hundred people marched in the center of Warsaw under the slogan “Not one more bomb.” Liberate Palestine.” Protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassy without incident.
In Istanbul, around 100 people lit emergency lights and waved anti-war banners in front of the Israeli embassy, whose entire diplomatic staff left Turkey last month as a security measure.
The unprecedented attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7 in Israeli territory left 1,200 dead, the vast majority civilians, according to the Israeli authorities.
Retaliatory bombings in the Gaza Strip left 12,000 dead, mostly civilians, including 5,000 children, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.