Global protests condemn Gaza war

Police blocked protesters in Nairobi from reaching the Israeli embassy [Reuters]

More than 50,000 Egyptian have protested in the city of Alexandria against Israel’s assault on Gaza, one of many held across the world as the conflict enters its 14th consecutive day.

Demonstrators in Egypt, led by parliamentarians allied to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, chanted slogans condemning the war and the failure of Arab nations to tackle the crisis.

“Down with Israel, and with it every collaborator,” protesters chanted after Friday prayers.

Others shouted: “Gaza excuse us: opening Rafah is not in our hands,” referring to the border crossing between the strip and Egypt which Cairo has refused to open despite the deaths of more than 780 Palestinians.

An AFP news agency reporter said riot police had tried to prevent the protest going ahead but gave up because of the number of demonstrators.

In the Jordanian capital Amman, security forces stopped protesters carrying Palestinian and Jordanian flags from marching to the Israeli embassy.

The protesters chanted “no Israel embassy on Arab territory” and “Arab rulers are cowards”.

No clashes were reported although objects were thrown at riot police.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations with diplomatic relations with Israel.

Both Sunni and Shia Muslim worshippers in Baghdad staged rallies condemning the offensive following Friday prayer services.

West Bank clashes

Angry Palestinian protesters have also clashed with Israeli police in the occupied West Bank.

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Israel had placed the West Bank on a 48-hour lockdown, prohibiting movement into and out of the Palestinian territory until Saturday except in emergency cases.

In Kenya, police used water cannons and tear gas in an attempt to disperse hundreds of people who had gathered outside Nairobi’s Jamea mosque to express their soldarity with the Palestinians of Gaza.

“No to shedding innocent blood,” “End the massacre in Gaza,” and “Israel, stop killing innocent people,” read some of the placards.

The protestors tried to march towards the Israeli embassy in the centre of the Kenyan capital, but were stopped by a heavy security deployment.

Six people were injured and 31 were arrested when 1,000 pro-Palestinian protesters attacked a pro-Israeli demonstration in Oslo, police said on Friday.

During the clashes, considered to be the worst in more than two decades in the Norwegian capital, anti-Israel protesters threw Molotov cocktails, rocks and eggs and burned Israeli flags, Johan Fredriksen of the Oslo police said.

Police were also on high alert in Greece, where protests against the Israeli offensive have been planned.

Boycott call

In Malaysia and Italy, critics of Israel’s Gaza assault have called for a boycott of Israeli and US goods.

“We cannot remain silent about what is happening in Gaza. We had thought of drawing up a list of businessmen who have links with Tel Aviv because people do not know who they are,” Giancarlo Desiderati, a member of a small group of Italian traders who called for the boycott on its website, said.

At least 5,000 people protested outside the US embassy in Malaysia on Friday, and around 300 held a noisy protest outside the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur to urge Arab countries to cut off oil supplies to the US and boycott goods from Coca-Cola, Colgate and Starbucks.

Addressing the crowd, Mahathir Mohamed, a former prime minister, told Malaysians that they “will not die if they do not use the US goods” and urged those working for US companies such as fast-food giant McDonalds to quit their jobs.

“I hope Starbucks and McDonald’s employees will stop working there,” he said.

Coca-Cola officials said any boycott would only hurt the local economy and its citizens.

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