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Worldwide movement protests U.S.-Israeli massacre in Gaza

Published Dec 31, 2008 8:16 PM

Bulletin: Next U.S. protests: Jan 3 in New York and Boston

Dec. 31—The genocidal U.S.-backed Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip has had at least one unintended consequence. It has mobilized the anti-imperialist movement and other anti-war forces around the world.

New York City, Dec. 28.
WW photo: John Catalinotto

The Washington-Tel-Aviv axis might not yet see this as an obstacle to their war crimes. But it is a work in progress, coming as the workers’ movements are beginning to get in motion to fight the repercussions of the capitalist economic collapse. Now they are fighting to prevent the massacre associated with what appears to be a planned ground assault into Gaza.

In 2006, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon had other unintended consequences.

Even in parts of the world where winter holidays often drain the strength of a social movement, people reacted quickly, angrily and in some places massively to oppose the new Israeli assault.

Groups all over the world made strikingly similar calls for action. There was complete solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza, a besieged and occupied population that has every right to resist. Most saw the Israeli state as the direct criminal, the local gendarme acting as an appendage of world imperialism—particularly U.S. imperialism but also that of the European Union.

The immediate demands were to stop the Israeli attacks; lift the blockade of Gaza; and for the government involved to break relations with or stop aiding the Zionist state. Protests in some mostly Arab countries—Egypt, for example—also targeted the country’s regime for collaborating with the U.S. and Israel. Disrupting the stability of the collaborating Arab regimes could be another unwanted consequence of the U.S.-Israeli assault.

People began to hit the streets and squares in protest the day of the first Israeli bombing, Dec. 27. Demonstrations spread through the world in the next few days. There are still some important gaps in our reports. We will list times and places for those protests that we know of that are planned for Jan. 1 or later so that people can use this information to attend.

Some protests defy geographic categories. A group of 16 crew and progressives, including some European doctors and former U.S. Congressperson and Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, attempted to deliver medical and humanitarian aid to Gaza on the yacht, Dignity, from the Free Gaza Movement. Israeli gunships not only stopped the delivery in seas off Gaza, but one deliberately rammed the Dignity in international waters, damaging it and nearly forcing its evacuation.

After the Dignity landed safely in South Lebanon, McKinney told the media that while the experience was harrowing, it “pales in comparison with what the people of Gaza are experiencing right now.” McKinney appealed to the U.S. Congress and to incoming President-elect Barack Obama to speak out against the Israeli attack.

North Africa and Asia

Tens of thousands of Lebanese, many supporters of Hezbollah, protested in the southern suburb of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, on Dec. 29 in the pouring rain. In Damascus, Syria, people held Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian flags aloft at an anti-Israeli rally. Protesters burned Israeli and U.S. flags in many Arab cities and demanded their governments react to Israeli aggression.

More than 50,000 demonstrated in Egyptian cities on Dec. 28 according to the AFP news agency. The biggest protest was in the southern city of Asyut, led by the Islamist opposition. Some 15,000 also attended a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the Jordanian capital Amman, and there were rallies in many of Jordan’s refugee camps that house thousands of displaced Palestinians.

There were demonstrations throughout the West Bank and in Haifa, Jaffa and other towns within the 1967 Israeli borders, and also a protest of 1,000 anti-war people in Tel Aviv. There were also anti-Israeli protests in Sudan and Yemen, where tens of thousands marched in Sanaa.

In Iraq, there were demonstrations in Baghdad, Mosul, Najaf and Kufa. In Tehran, Iran, thousands of Iranians rallied Dec. 29. There have been protests in Istanbul and other cities in Turkey. In India, there were demonstrations in Kolkata (Calcutta) and a number of other Indian cities. There was a protest of more than 1,000 people waving Palestinian and Indonesian flags in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Dec. 30, and in Tokyo, Japan, that same day at the Israeli Embassy.

In South Africa a protest of the Gaza massacre is set for Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Consulate in Killarney, Johannesburg.

Latin America

In Argentina, a vigil of hundreds was held at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires after a march on Dec. 29, called by different Argentine-Arab organizations to show solidarity with Palestine. In Puerto Rico, the Socialist Front held a mobilization in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to reject and condemn the crimes of the Israeli state, gathering at the Federal building in San Juan.

Starting at 10 in the morning on Dec. 29, some 200 people protested in front of the Israeli Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, in the second day of protests there. The Communist Party of Venezuela and other social organizations were present. On Dec. 30 people protested before the Israeli Embassy in Mexico City, D.F. There was also a protest in Colón, Costa Rica, on Dec. 30 at the Israeli Embassy.

In addition to these popular actions, statements from the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia condemned the Israeli killing of Palestinians.


In Belgium, there have been local protest rallies in Ghent, Louvain, Brussels and Antwerp in the days following the first attack, with a national protest rally on Dec. 31 from the Place de la Monnaie to the Place des Martyrs. It is a joint effort of solidarity committees, non-governmental organizations, the Workers Party of Belgium and Arab organizations.

In Greece, where there have been youth protests against a police killing since early December, more than 3,000 demonstrators waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israeli and anti-U.S. slogans marched on the Israeli Embassy in Athens. Greek left-wing parties and Arab groups participated. Another demonstration of 1,000 took place in Thessalonika.

In England, Scotland and Wales, as reported by the Stop the War Committee, 700 people scuffled with police in demonstrations Dec. 28 at the Israeli Embassy in London. Some protesters were seen attempting to climb the gate towards the embassy and throwing red liquid, to symbolize blood, towards the gate. Respect Member of Parliament George Galloway and former Labor Member of Parliament Tony Benn were among those who addressed the crowd. Afterwards Galloway said: “We should treat Israel as we treated South Africa during apartheid. They should be shunned.”

Daily demonstrations are continuing in London from 2 to 4 p.m. outside the Israeli Embassy, and on Jan. 2 will move to the Egyptian Embassy at 26 South Street, London, W1K 1DW, from 2 to 4 p.m. to call for Egypt to open the border immediately. On Jan. 3, protests will also be held in Bristol, opposite the Hippodrome, from 3 to 4 p.m.; in Portsmouth, at Guildhall Square, at 11 a.m.; and in Hull, at Queen Victoria Square, at 11 a.m.

Protests are set for Glasgow, Scotland, on Jan. 3 at 12 noon outside Lloyds TSB on St Vincent Street, with a demonstration at Blytheswood Square at 2 p.m. In Edinburgh, a protest will be held at the same time at Foot of the Mound on Princes Street.

There were actions in Cardiff, Wales, in Nottingham and Southampton.

In Lisbon, Portugal, various organizations concerned about the massacre in Gaza, including mass unions and women’s and anti-war organizations met Dec. 30 and decided to call a unified demonstration for Jan. 8, with the place and time to be announced later.

In the Spanish state on Dec. 28, 1,000 demonstrated before the Israeli Embassy in Madrid; also demonstrations were reported from Barcelona, Bilbao, Coruna and Seville. Further actions are planned in Madrid on Jan. 3 at 12 noon at the Foreign Affairs Ministry at Plaza de Sta. Cruz, and on Jan. 11 at 12 noon at Puerta del Sol. If there is an Israeli land invasion of Gaza, there will be a protest the next day at 8 p.m. at Puerta del Sol. A march is also planned between the squares of Cibeles and Sol on Jan. 17. In Madrid people have initiated a campaign of international solidarity with the Palestinian people by hanging Palestinian flags and scarves from windows and balconies.

In France, demonstrations were called by a broad coalition of forces Dec. 29 and 30 in Paris, where 1,300 marched, and in Angers, Annecy, Besançon, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nîmes, Quimper, Rennes, Roubaix, Rouen, St. Etienne, St. Girons, Thionville and Toulouse.

In Netherlands, a demonstration is planned for 1 p.m. on Jan. 3 in Amsterdam, at Museumplein.

In Italy, Red Link reports demonstrations at least in Rome and Pisa on Dec. 28 and in Naples and Bologna on Dec. 29. Soccorso Populare in Veneto reports a protest on Dec. 28 of 100 in Padua, on Dec. 31 in Venice Mestre, on Jan. 2 in Treviso and on Jan. 3 in Vicenza at 2 p.m. before the Central Train Station. There were also protests in Florence and Genoa and in Cagliari in Sardinia.

A broad national demonstration has been called for Rome on Jan. 3 at 4:30 p.m. at Piazza della Repubblica, marching to Piazza Barberini.

In Germany, on Dec. 28 some 50 people gathered downtown spontaneously near the big cathedral in Cologne to demand an immediate end to the massacre. The next day there were actions in Berlin and Dusseldorf.

In Austria there were vigils and protests in Vienna on Dec. 30, when 2,000 people marched through the downtown area. On Jan. 3 at 3 p.m., there will be a demonstration, “Stop the Massacre in Gaza!” at the Albertina, Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna. The Gaza Must Live group called further protests for Jan. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at Karlsplatz and on Jan. 9.

In Switzerland there were protests in Basel and Geneva.

In Denmark, there were solidarity demonstrations in Copenhagen and Aarhus on Dec. 28, with 1,500 people in Copenhagen at the Israeli Embassy; in Odense on Dec. 29; and again in Copenhagen and other cities on Dec. 30.

In Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the group Tadamon (Solidarity in Arabic) plans a protest for Jan. 4 at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of St. Catherine and Atwater (metro Atwater). Other protests have been held across Canada.

United States

From inside the U.S., International Action Center activists and others have continued to send detailed reports. In general, most demonstrators at first have come from the Palestinian and Arab/Muslim community. The IAC has helped with organizational and logistical support and outreach to other North Americans in the labor, anti-war and anti-racist movements.

The largest demonstrations reported so far have been in Dearborn, Mich.; New York; San Francisco; and Anaheim, Calif.; all numbering in the thousands.

In Dearborn, near Detroit, on Dec. 30, some 5,000 people formed a human chain stretching for blocks in this city that probably is home to the largest Arab community in the U.S. Some of the many youth stood on snow banks and waved Palestinian flags, of which there were hundreds of all sizes, and chanted, “1,2,3,4—stop the killing, stop the war; 5,6,7,8: Israel is a terrorist state.” Passersby in cars—some also draped with Palestinian flags—honked loudly and repeatedly for the hour-plus-long action in cold windy weather.

A follow-up action, a candlelight vigil, will be held Jan. 2 at 5 p.m. at the City Hall in Dearborn.

In New York, some 5,000 people gathered in front of Rockefeller Center on 5th Avenue on a very busy shopping day Dec. 28. The demonstration was largely Palestinian, young and very militant, chanting, “From the river to the sea: Palestine will be free.” It marched a mile to the Israeli Consulate. Mosques in New Jersey towns sent five busloads of people on 24-hours’ notice. There were other protests on Dec. 29 and 30. A major unified demonstration is planned for Jan. 3 to start at Times Square at 2 p.m.

More than 1,500 people participated on Dec. 29 in Anaheim, just south of Los Angeles. A coalition made up of Al Awda, Muslim student organizations and many others, including the IAC, called the action. The next event was on Dec. 30 in front of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles.

On Dec. 30, several thousand Palestinians and supporters held a loud and militant march through downtown San Francisco.

In Washington, D.C., on Dec. 30, ANSWER held a demonstration at the State Department.

In San Diego, on Dec. 30, about 500 people, including large numbers of Arab youth, gathered at the downtown Federal Building. All four corners of the intersection were occupied by spirited protesters, with youth chanting nonstop and frequently leading charges from one corner to another. Further protests were announced for the afternoon of Jan. 1 in Balboa Park and the afternoon of Jan. 2 at the Federal Building. Some 100 demonstrators gathered in Tucson, Ariz., on Dec. 30.

In Boston, there was a march of 120 people on Dec. 28 from Park Street to Copley Square with strong Palestinian participation, rush hour distributions on Dec. 29 and a demonstration Dec. 30 at the Israeli Consulate. The next action in solidarity with Palestine will be on Jan. 3 at 12 noon at Copley Square, and will march through downtown Boston past the Israeli Consulate in Park Square, Downtown Crossing, the military recruiters on Tremont Street and back to Copley Square for a concluding rally. It is being organized by a broad ad hoc coalition.

Some 80 mostly young people attended an emergency demonstration in Baltimore on Dec. 30 at the War Memorial Plaza. More than 100 people came out for a protest outside the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia Dec. 28, called with less than 24-hours’ notice. In Buffalo, N.Y., some 200 mostly Palestinian, Yemeni and other Arab youth demonstrated on Dec. 30.

The Palestinian community in Houston had a huge demonstration Dec. 28 on all four corners of the busiest intersection in town, maybe 750 people. From infants to elders, Palestinians came out with their families, lots of students, and a number of elderly women in traditional Palestinian clothing. In typical Texas style, pickup trucks filled with Palestinian youth waving giant Palestinian flags drove up and down the streets honking and yelling. There were other protests during the week, with the next action on Jan. 2 at the Israeli consulate.

In Atlanta, Emory Advocates for Justice in Palestine and Athens for Justice in Palestine, with help from the IAC, pulled together an action in less than 18 hours for Dec. 28. More than 100 people came; mostly Palestinian, many college and high school age youth as well as children brought by their parents, with good representation of the anti-war movement. Another 350 people protested and took over some intersections on Dec. 30. The next action is on Jan. 3 at CNN at 2 p.m.

With help from Hana al-Bayaty for the Middle East; Paola Manduca for Europe; Berta Joubert-Ceci for Latin America; and with reports from Angeles Maestro, Klaus Riis, Bert de Belder, Fausto Schiavetto,Willi Langthaler, Guido Mandari and Wil van der Klift in Europe; Manik Mukherjee in India and Keiku Yasahara in Japan; also Joe Piette, Paul Teitelbaum, Bob McCubbin, John Parker, Dianne Mathiowetz, Ellie Dorritie, Frank Neisser, Sara Flounders, Joan Marquardt and Steve Ceci in the U.S.