Hyderabad residents protest at US consulate against Israel

January 2nd, 2009 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Jan 2 (IANS) Tension prevailed at the US consulate here Friday as around 1,000 people staged a demonstration protesting Israel’s air strikes on Palestinians in Gaza.About six protestors were injured as police caned the crowd that tried to barge into the newly-inaugurated consulate building in the high-security Begumpet neighbourhood.

About 1,000 protestors belonging to the minority cell of the ruling Congress party gathered outside the consulate, raising slogans against Israel’s action and demanding a halt to the strikes.

The protestors, led by Congress party’s minority cell president Mohammed Sirajuddin, managed to reach the entrance of the heavily guarded US consulate and tried to barge in. Police used batons to disperse the protestors and stopped them from burning an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Denouncing the killing of over 400 Palestinians by Israel in the week-long strikes, the group also raised slogans against the US for its support to Israel. They also carried placards with pictures of victims, including children.

“Down with Israel” and “Stop genocide” were some of the slogans written on placards.

Police later took the protestors into custody for gathering without permission in a prohibited area.

“The protest shows the anger and anguish of the people over the massacre of innocent Palestinians at the hands of Israel,” said Sirajuddin.

This was the first protest by any group at the consulate, which was formally opened Oct 24. The consulate, which is scheduled to start processing visa requests later this month, is operating from Paigah Palace, a heritage building.

The spontaneous protest soon after Friday prayers took the police off guard. Security was further tightened after the protest.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Muslims staged anti-Israel demonstrations in the old city of Hyderabad and some other towns in the state after Friday prayers.

Muslims constitute 40 percent of Hyderabad’s nearly 80 million population. Muslims also took out a rally in Nizamabad town to condemn the massacre of Palestinians and demanded an end to the brutality.

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