World Bulletin / News Desk
Palestinians freed from Israeli jails held their own version of the Barcelona-Real Madrid soccer match on Sunday to protest at the presence of a former captive Israeli soldier at the actual fixture.
The five-a-side kick-about in Gaza comprised mostly of ex-prisoners protesting at Gilad Shalit's presence in Barcelona. He was abducted by Palestinians in a cross-border raid in 2006 and they held him for over five years.
Wearing the shirts of the two Spanish giant clubs, the Palestinians called on hosts Barcelona to deny Shalit access to Sunday night's match. They thought he had been invited by the club, although Barcelona has denied this.
"Soccer is a sport that carries the message of freedom and love but we are against it when an (Israeli) soldier is invited, because it equates between the victim and the aggressor," said Yasser Saleh, who spent 17 years in Israeli jails.
Barcelona said they had accepted Shalit's request to attend Sunday's clash between two of the world's most successful outfits. But when Palestinians thought the club had initiated the invitation, they vowed to protest.
To redress the balance, Barcelona invited Mahmoud Sarsak, a former Palestinian soccer player who was released from an Israeli jail in July where he was held for three years without charge, Palestinian sports supremo Jibril Rajoub, and another representative.
"The club did not invite Mr. Shalit to the game, but accepted a request to watch a match during his visit to Barcelona ... In the same manner ... the club has also accepted the Palestinian embassy's request to extend three invitations to three Palestinian delegates," the club said on its website.
Sarsak said he would not share the same stadium with Shalit. It was not immediately clear whether the other two attended.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have a huge following among Gaza's 1.6 million population.
In a small protest in front of the Spanish consulate in East Jerusalem, a group of some 30 demonstrators held up placards with the club's insignia daubed in red paint signifying blood, and at least one trampled on a Barcelona shirt.
On Friday thirty Muslim students were denied entry to the De Mot-Couvreur institute in Brussels for wearing long skirts.
The Ukrainian cabinet of ministers have appointed Mikhail Saakashvili as governor of Odessa, Ukraine.
Belgium has expelled Turkish politician Mahinur Ozdemir over her refusal to use the world "genocide" over the 1915 events.
An American Islamic group have responded to the protest outside mosque in Phoenix.
Russia has put in place a travel ban on 89 politicians and military leaders in a move that has seen the worst stand off with the West in years.
The Italian navy has rescued more than 4,200 migrants in the past 24 hours off the coast of Libya, with a boat carrying 17 corpses.
Israel's Palestine policy has been condemned by the Union of French Jews for Peace as it participates in 'The Ship to Gaza' flotilla to end the blockade in Gaza
Two of Burundi's vice presidents of the election commission have resigned and fled the country.
The US Patriot Act which allows the NSA to collect telephone records is set to expire on Sunday if the US Congress acts to renew it.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto had misrepresented a land deal to authorities in which he acquired a property
Sepp Blatter has been reelected as president of FIFA.
The US is considering a preclearance centers to increase security through 10 different airports in Europe.
Eight people have been killed and another eight have been wounded in a rocket attack in Libya
In a sign of a rise in Islamophobia in the US, hundreds of people have attended an anti-Islam rally outside a mosque in Phoenix just weeks after a similar event in Texas
Spanish government agrees to host permanent military presence of US for its Africa mission