Worldwide protests in solidarity with Lebanese
Published Aug 15, 2006 11:33 PM
The international protests of U.S.-Israeli
aggression came in two waves, one across mostly Muslim countries in Asia and
Africa on Aug. 11, and then another on Aug. 12 and 13 in South America, Europe
and North America. The Lebanese and other Arab Diasporas provided the core of
the demonstrations in many countries, along with anti-imperialist groups and
Muslims outraged by George Bush’s slanders about
Photo: Said Samir
The demonstrations, just as those a week
ago, showed growing support for the Lebanese resistance movement and
specifically for Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and also were
directed as much against U.S. symbols as against Israel.
In Africa there
were significant protests in Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, in Noukachott in
Mauritania and in Durban, South Africa, where the South African Human Rights
Organization held a march of over 1,500 to the U.S. Consul General, and in
Mogadishu in Somalia.
Tens of thousands of students in Klang Valley,
Penang, Bangi and Johor Baharu in Malaysia protested on their campuses after
Friday prayers against the Israeli killing of Lebanese civilians. In Kuala Lum
pur, the capital, various groups launched a boycott of Coca-Cola drinks and
Starbucks coffee to protest the U.S. role in Israel’s military offensive
in Lebanon and Gaza.
There were also protests Aug. 11 in Lucknow, India,
demanding the government raise its voice against the Israeli attacks, and also
in Damascus, Syria; Kara chi, Pakistan; and Dhaka, Bangladesh. In Istanbul,
Turkey, the left organizations played a greater role in the protest. There was
also a protest for the first time on this issue in Azerbaijan.
most important protests in the Arab world took place in Egypt, where they had a
strong character of opposition to the Egyptian government, considered a client
of the U.S. in the region.
After the Friday prayer in many regions of
Egypt there were spontaneous clashes between demonstrators and the police. At
the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, police pushed hundreds of demonstrators into the
inner court and surrounded the building. The angry crowd burned an Israeli flag
and chanted, “Whether Sunni or Shiite, we are all Islamic resistance
fighters.” They also denounced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, saying
“Mubarak will fall.”
There were similar protests in Damanhour,
Damietta and Minya, other Egyptian cities.
There were also protests in
Toronto, Ont., and other cities in Canada on Aug. 12. Another protest is set for
Aug. 15 in Montreal, when former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell is
scheduled to address the Jewish National Fund, a group that has land holdings in
Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Demonstrations were scheduled in Uru
guay, Mexico and various cities in Brazil. In Asunción, Paraguay,
activists from about a dozen social and political organizations demanded that
there be a break in the negotiations of a free trade agreement between
Mercosur—a trading body grouping South American countries—and
Some thousands demonstrated in Paris and other French cities, in
Vienna in Austria, in Geneva in Switzerland, on Aug. 12, and in Madrid and other
cities in the Spanish state on Aug. 13. In England, Scotland and Ireland, where
there had been a mass demonstration on Aug. 5, there were smaller actions in
London, Edinburgh and Dublin.
Probably the most significant of the
European demonstrations took place in Berlin, Germany, where the traditional
peace movement has in the past refused to come out in force to oppose Israeli
policies. The post-World War II German ruling class has instrumentalized the
left’s revulsion of anti-Semitism to disarm it before imperialism and
This manipulation, combined with heavy right-wing, anti-Muslim
propaganda in the ruling-class media, has made it difficult to mobilize. The
local Berlin regional government even passed a law making it illegal to carry a
Hezbollah flag or a picture of Nasrallah on a protest.
15,000 people, about a third of them from the traditional movement, marched in
Berlin. One of the talks was given by Fanny-Michaela Reisin of European Jews for
a Just Peace. Here are a few excerpts from her speech:
in Israel are misusing not only my name. They have the audacity to call upon the
names of my murdered ancestors. Without shame they try to justify their evil
deeds in Lebanon and Palestine by doing them in the name of my grandparents, who
were murdered in the concentration camps and mass graves of the Nazi regime.
“The dead cannot defend themselves. But I, born and raised in the
shadow of their murders, tell the rulers starting from Prime Minister [Ehud]
Olmert, Secretary of Defense Peretz and above all Com mander in Chief [Dan]
Halutz, that I deny them the right to call upon the memory of those innocently
killed to justify their program of raw power and
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