Worldwide protests over Israeli attacks on Gaza (Lead)

January 11th, 2009 - 2:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Jan 11 (DPA) Tens of thousands of people have taken part in worldwide protests against Israel’s 15-day bombardment and infantry deployment in the Gaza Strip.In Germany, more than 35,000 people took to the streets in demonstrations organised mainly by ethnic Turks, Palestinians and other predominantly Islamic minorities.

The biggest demonstration in Germany was in the western industrial city of Duisburg, where 10,000 demonstrators attended a rally organised by the Milli Gorus Islamic community, a Turkish Islamist group.

Thousands attended other Turkish-organized demonstrations in the cities of Mainz, Hanover and Freiburg.

“We wanted to show our solidarity with the people on the ground,” said a spokesman in Duisburg for Milli Gorus, which demands that Israel call off the offensive and end its long-term blockade of the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas.

In the capital, Berlin, a crowd of 8,500, mostly Palestinians, demonstrated against the Israeli operation in a follow-up to a rally a week ago by 7,000. Many held aloft photographs of injured children. A woman at the front carried a doll wrapped in “blood-stained” rags.

Palestinian immigrants also demonstrated by the thousands in the southern cities of Nuremberg and Munich.

In Paris, tens of thousands gathered, with the organizers claiming 100,000 people at a demonstration organized by the “Collective for a just and lasting peace between Israeli’s and Palestinians”, and alliance of lobby groups, trade unions and left-wing parties.

There were protest marches in other French cities and towns.

In London, over 10,000 people took part in a demonstration, where some protestors threw shoes at police, burned placards and tried to break through barriers.

Three police officers were injured in a clash with about 200 demonstrators late Saturday after the peaceful march had ended. One of the officers was knocked unconscious as protestors threw objects and broke shop windows, Scotland Yard said.

Police arrested 40 people.

Protests also took place in Belfast, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Newcastle.

Over the past week, thousands in various British cities have been protesting the conflict, hurling shoes at the iron gates in front of Downing Street.

Shoe-throwing as a form of protest has gained popularity since an Iraqi journalist made headlines for throwing his shoes at US President George W. Bush in mid-December.

Thousands of people, many waving Palestinian flags, held marches and rallies in the Italian cities of Milan, Turin and Florence.

Scuffles broke out when some demonstrators set fire to an Israeli flag while others attempted to stop them during an afternoon march in downtown Milan, news reports said.

Similar marches took place in Turin and in Florence, where demonstrators gathered near the city’s famous Duomo Roman Catholic cathedral.

Some 500 people marched in support of Gaza at a demonstration in Warsaw, while a smaller group gathered for a demonstration backing Israel.

In Washington, protestors, many of them Muslims, filled Lafayette Park in front of the White House. They waved Palestinian flags and posters showing images of death and destruction in Gaza.

The US consulate in Auckland was also the target for protestors hurling shoes. About 500 protestors burned an Israeli flag in what the organizer claimed was New Zealand’s largest pro-Palestinian demonstration.

Some protestors wore Palestinian flags, and held placards of dead and mutilated children as they marched through the city centre chanting, “How many kids have you killed today, Israel, USA?” Radio New Zealand reported.

In the Norwegian capital Oslo, police decided not to allow protesters to approach the Israeli embassy in an attempt to avert a possible repetition of violent scenes on Thursday, when police were forced to use teargas and arrested some 30 protesters.

In neighbouring Sweden, several thousand people took part in a protest in central Stockholm.

In Greece, around 4,000 people gathered in front of the US and Israeli embassies, shouting anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans. Some protestors threw stones at police. No further incidents were reported.

Meanwhile, 63 people were reported injured Saturday in clashes between police and demonstrators who turned violent in central Algiers late Friday.

Algeria’s state news agency APS said 23 police and some 40 demonstrators were injured when thousands protested in Martyrs Square against Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip.

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