Hundreds protest at US Consulate - demand ceasefire in Gaza
Calls for Palestinian human rights to be respected
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the United States consulate in Sandton on Saturday, demanding action be taken to end the ongoing war in Gaza.
Earlier in the day, there was also a protest against doing business with the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, which was held from 2 to 4 November.
“Free, Free, Palestine!” the crowd chanted, many holding flags and placards. Some protesters held dummies of dead children.
Protesters told GroundUp they want an immediate ceasefire, for US delegates to leave South Africa, and the Israeli Embassy to be closed.
A “Wanted” poster for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu was erected on the consulate’s fence. Flyers detailing the gruesome effects of the bombing of Gaza were distributed.
Hamas militants entered Israel from Gaza Strip on 7 October and killed about 1,400 people, mostly civilians. They took over 200 hostages from Israel to the Gaza Strip. Since then the Israeli Defence Force has killed nearly 10,000 people in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, mostly civilians, including several thousand children. (These figures come from official Israeli and Palestinian sources.) Israel has been occupying the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, known as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, since 1967.
Abdul Kazer Kurtha, a member of various Palestine solidarity organisations, called for justice, equality and the human rights of Palestinians to be respected.
He said officials of the US consulate had been unwilling to meet the protesters.
Zunaid Mosam said, “Western countries are complicit in this genocide. Right now America is in the process of passing a bill to provide arms to Israel worth US$14.3 billion. How can they be a custodian of democracy when this is the way they act?”
“We went through apartheid in South Africa and Israel is no different. It’s an apartheid state,” said Mosam. “During apartheid we wanted sporting sanctions, we wanted economic sanctions. Why not now? We need to cut ties completely.”
Protestors holding flags and placards were denied entry to the nearby Sandton Mall. They dispersed from the consulate by 6pm.
The protest was organised by the South African Friends for Palestine, The Holocaust Committee, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, Friends of Cuban Society, Media Review Network in South Africa, Aljamah, People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD).
Also in attendance were people from the Jewish and Muslim communities as well as the General Workers Union of South Africa (GWUSA).
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