European protests call 'Life, land, liberty for Palestinians'

Thousands of people staged demonstration in France, Rome and also Egypt, protesting military offensive in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

European protests call 'Life, land, liberty for Palestinians'


Thousands of people staged on Saturday demonstration in France, Rome and also Egypt, protesting military offensive in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Some protesters burnt American and Israeli flags at the start of the Paris demonstration, one of several held around the world to protest against the Israeli violence in Gaza.



Thousands also marched through Rome, carrying pictures of Palestinian children killed since Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 1,205 Palestinians have been killed in the offensive, at least third of them children. Israel has lost 10 soldiers, and three civilians hit by Hamas rocket fire.

A large banner reading "Life, land and liberty for the Palestinian people" led the Rome demonstration.



In Paris, protesters smashed the windows of a McDonald's restaurant on the capital's rue de Rivoli, while cars and buildings were vandalised during another Gaza protest held in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

Police said 2,600 people took part in the Paris protest.

France is home to Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish minorities.

In Rome, as the demonstration passed the Colosseum, Muslims in the crowd bent in prayer before the ancient monument.



Earlier this month, conservative politicians balked after Muslims in predominantly Catholic Italy prayed in public squares during demonstrations against Israel in Milan and Bologna.

Another demonstration took place in Assisi, the central Italian city where St. Francis was born.

The Vatican, meanwhile, announced that Pope Benedict had sent an unspecified amount of money from his personal charity funds to help the tiny Catholic population in Gaza.



In Cairo, Egyptian police used batons to beat protesters who rallied against the Israeli offensive, witnesses said.

The protest was called by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's strongest opposition group.

Witnesses said eight protesters were injured during the clashes with anti-riot police, who had deployed in force several hours before the rally.

A security official, speaking on a customary condition of anonymity, said police detained 25 people during the protest. Police usually release most of those held during demonstrations after several hours.

Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih said men who appeared to be plainclothes agents also confiscated her camera, along with the cameras of at least two other photographers.



The Brotherhood has been leading a campaign against the three-week Israeli attacks, which destroyed U.N. schools and compound besides hospitals and mosques.

The Islamist group has also criticised the government for not opening the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for normal traffic although around 5000 wounded Palestinians have stucked in the enclave.

Reuters

Last Mod: 18 Ocak 2009, 00:23
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