Thousands of protesters in a number of European cities marched in support of Palestinians on Saturday as the worst violence in years raged between Israel and terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Channel 12 news aired footage of protesters marching on a small Israeli flag placed on the ground in London as well as other Israeli flags being ripped up and thrown into the air.
Several thousand protesters carrying placards reading “Stop Bombing Gaza” and chanting “Free Palestine” converged on Marble Arch, near the British capital’s Hyde Park, to march toward the Israeli embassy.
According to Sky News, organizers said some 100,000 gathered outside the building.
לא זוכר דברים כאלה, והיו הפגנות pic.twitter.com/5m7YUi9zcm
— Elad Simchayoff (@Elad_Si) May 15, 2021
Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the UK Labour Party who is an outspoken critic of Israel and presided over the party during a wave of antisemitism allegations, addressed the crowd.
“Think what it’s like being a mother or father and seeing a building bombed in front of you, knowing your family is in there, and you can do nothing,” Corbyn was quoted saying. “It’s our global voices that will give succor, comfort and support in those settlements alongside Gaza and all over the West Bank, East Jerusalem who are suffering at this time. End the occupation now. End all the settlements now and withdraw then. End the siege of Gaza now.”
The Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the UK Husam Zomlot told those gathered that “we are united. We have had enough of oppression.”
“Today we are saying enough, enough with the complicity. Thank you for standing with us,” Zomlot said.
In Berlin, firecrackers were hurled at an Israeli reporter for the Kan public broadcaster.
Antonia Yamin said she was attacked by demonstrators when they heard her report on the protest in Hebrew.
This just happened!
While covering the Palestinian demonstration in #Berlin in the background they yelled “Israel murderers children” and “Allahu Akbar” but they didn’t like me covering it in hebrew for @kann_news so they threw firecrackers
@RTLde team documented it pic.twitter.com/ZGKcVxVezy
— Antonia Yamin אנטוניה ימין (@antonia_yamin) May 15, 2021
In Paris, police officers used tear gas and water cannons to try and disperse a pro-Palestinian rally held despite a ban by authorities, who fear a flare-up of antisemitic violence.
Thousands of people converged in the Barbes neighborhood in the north of the capital, defying orders issued by loudspeakers that the march was illegal.
Officers blocked off wide boulevards as well as narrow streets where some of the protesters were forced to retreat, while knots of residents and passers-by watched or recorded the scene with their phones.
Some threw stones or tried to set up roadblocks with construction barriers, but for the most part, police pursued groups across the district while preventing any march toward the Place de la Bastille as planned.
In Madrid, some 2,500 people, many of them young people wrapped in Palestinian flags, marched to the Puerta del Sol plaza in the city center.
“This is not a war, it’s genocide,” they chanted.
“They are massacring us,” said Amira Sheikh-Ali, a 37-year-old of Palestinian origin.
“We’re in a situation when the Nakba is continuing in the middle of the 21st century,” she said, referring to the “catastrophe” word used by Palestinians to describe Israel’s creation in 1948.
“We want to ask Spain and the European authorities not to collaborate with Israel, because with their silence, they are collaborating,” said Ikhlass Abousousiane, a 25-year-old nurse of Moroccan origin.
In Greece, police said around a thousand people marched on the US embassy in Athens. Riot police used water cannon and there were minor scuffles with protesters in front of the embassy, AFP correspondents reported.
In Rome, a few hundred people gathered near the Santa Maria Maggiore basilica, carrying large Palestinian flags and chanting slogans.
“No need to be Muslim to support the Palestinians,” read one placard: “You just need to be a human being.”
In Tunisia, demonstrations took place in several cities. Hundreds of demonstrators draped in Palestinian flags gathered in central Tunis, before marching on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, watched by police.