Cities across Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and Asia witnessed hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marching in support of the Palestinians amid an escalating Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip.
The series of global protests took place on Saturday, with one of the largest marches seen in the British capital, London. Massive crowds gathered in the city center, calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government to advocate for a ceasefire.Speaking at the London march, protester Camille Revuelta emphasized the need for a ceasefire and the protection of Palestinian lives. “The superpowers at play are not doing enough at the moment. This is why we’re here: we’re calling for a ceasefire, calling for Palestinian rights, the right to exist, to live, human rights, all our rights,” Revuelta said, adding, “This is not about Hamas. This is about protecting Palestinian lives.”
Despite the call for a ceasefire, the UK government has refrained from such demands. Instead, echoing the stance of Washington, Sunak’s administration has advocated for humanitarian pauses to facilitate the delivery of aid to the people in Gaza. The UK has also expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself in light of the October 7 attack by Hamas, which claimed the lives of over 1,400 people, mostly civilians.According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 7,700, predominantly civilians, following three weeks of Israeli bombardment.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a sizable crowd of protesters gathered outside the US embassy, chanting slogans. Meanwhile, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, an estimated 100,000 people rallied in solidarity with Palestine.Addressing a massive crowd in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his support for the Palestinian cause, describing Israel as an occupier and Hamas as not being a “terrorist” organization, referring to them as “freedom fighters”. This statement had earlier drawn sharp criticism from Israel.
In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian protesters in Hebron called for a global boycott of Israeli products. The chant “Don’t contribute to the killing of the children of Palestine,” resonated through the crowd.
Protests also took place in cities such as Copenhagen, Rome, and Stockholm.Despite the prohibition of rallies in some French cities due to concerns of escalating social tensions, a small rally took place in Paris, with several hundred others marching in the southern city of Marseille.
In Wellington, New Zealand, thousands marched to Parliament House, holding Palestinian flags and placards reading “Free Palestine.”
London police reported that Saturday’s march was largely peaceful, although nine arrests were made – two for assaults on officers and seven for public order offenses, some of which are being treated as hate crimes. The police estimated the turnout to be between 50,000 and 70,000 people.