Monday, November 15, 2004

Thousands of Europeans protest against Israeli barrier

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Berlin, Geneva, Paris and Rome to protest against Israel's construction of a separation barrier and the situation of Palestinians on the occasion of Jerusalem Day.

In the French capital between 2,000 and 6,000 people joined a rally called by leftist and aid groups.

The demonstration was "part of an international campaign against the construction of the wall" annexing Palestinian territory, said Christian Piquet, a leading figure of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).

Mr Piquet estimated the number of demonstrators at 6,000, while police said 2,000 attended, among them members of Amnesty International, the Communist Party and the environmental Greens party.

"We are demonstrating so there will not be a wall between people and no people between the walls," said the spokesman for the group coordinating Palestinian committees, Rachid Abel.

A French Jewish group as well as anti-Zionist Orthodox rabbis, who argue that the existence of the state of Israel is illegal, also attended the protest.

In Berlin about 750 people, according to police estimates, most of them members of the Muslim community, also demonstrated against Israeli policies.

Veiled women carried pictures of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died on Thursday in Paris and was buried in the West Bank town of Ramallah Friday.

In Rome, several thousand people paid tribute to Mr Arafat and protested against Israel's security barrier in the West Bank.

Protesters carried banners condemning the "Wall of apartheid".

In Geneva, nearly 300 people took to the streets to protest against what they called Israel's "wall of shame" in the West Bank.

No incidents were reported.

The week, November 9-16, was chosen to coincide with celebrations marking the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

Iran's late Ayatollah Khomenei initiated the annual Al-Qods (Arabic for Jerusalem) Day in 1979, to be held on the last Friday of Ramadan, for more Muslims around the world to show their solidarity with the Palestinians, who seek Jerusalem as a capital for an independent Palestine.

By End The Occupation posted 15 November 04


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