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Palestine solidarity protests break out across Europe

AFP reports that thousands of people marched in support of the Palestinian people today in cities across Europe. Stay tuned to IMC-Palestine for continuing coverage of solidarity protests around the world.
Sunday March 31, 1:33 AM
AFP wire
Pro-Palestinian protests in European cities

Thousands of people marched in support of the Palestinian people and their besieged leader Yasser Arafat in France, Germany and other European countries Saturday, as Israel continued its operations against the Palestinian Authority.

In central Paris around 1,000 people demonstrated in a protest against the "logic of war" of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.

In Lyon, France's second city, police said around 5,500 people took part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration.

In the German capital Berlin around 800 people took part in a pro-Palestinian rally.

Security around Jewish establishments was increased in the city amid fears that there might be an anti-Jewish backlash related to events in the Middle East.

In Strasbourg in eastern France, between 2,000 and 3,000 people from France as well as from nearby Germany and Belgium took part in a protest called by the Party of French Muslims (PMF).

Its president, Mohamed Laprecje said: "Our goal is to give our support to the Intifada (the Palestinian uprising), to uplift a people in the face of a colonizing army."

Organizers spoke out against some elements in the march who began shouting anti-Jewish slogans, saying their fight was against Israel's policies and not against Jews.

In Marseille, in southern France, a city with a large Muslim population, around 1,600 people demonstrated in favour of "respect for the rights of the Palestinian people."

They shouted slogans against Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and US President George W. Bush.

Easter peace marches in Hanover, Munich, Duesseldorf and Stuttgart, with between 250 and 1,000 protestors in each, also had a strong pro-Palestinian element.

In Bordeaux in southwestern France a pro-Palestinian demonstration of around 300 people took place in the city centre.

In Athens, Greece, around a dozen members of parliament demonstrated in front of the Israeli Embassy and called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Ramallah.

The Israeli ambassador to Greece, David Shasson, refused to meet them and said in a statement that, "while the protesters are upset by the Israeli army actions, they showed no reaction to the terrorist attack in Netanya, which took the lives of 21 Israelis during the Jewish Easter."

Israel's current operations in the Palestinian territories are being carried out in retaliation for the Netanya suicide bombing, which took place on Wednesday.



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