SOME 1,500 PEOPLE turned out for a solidarity rally for the people of the Gaza Strip today in Dublin, as the death toll from the conflict with Israel continued to rise.
Violence continued in the region today, with the Jewish state pounding Gaza for a fifth day with air strikes and artillery, killing 22 Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Israel says it has been hit by 43 rockets since yesterday.
Today’s march in the capital began on O’Connell street at midday — continuing across the Liffey to Kildare Street, where speeches were held in front of Leinster House.
The demonstration then continued out to Ballsbridge, where a minute’s silence was held outside the Israeli embassy.
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Freda Hughes of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, one of the organisers of today’s march, said it had passed off peacefully.
“The main chant this afternoon has been ‘we want justice’,” Hughes said.
However, TV footage later showed a small number of protesters being prevented by gardaí from trying to mount barriers placed at the embassy.
Hughes called on the new Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan to strengthen Ireland’s stance on the issue, and pressure the EU to impose sanctions on Israel.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said he was “gravely concerned” by the escalating violence.
He criticised the actions of both sides, condemning the Israeli air strikes and saying that the firing of rockets from Gaza posed a “grave threat”.
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Both sides in the conflict have brushed off fresh calls for a truce, and Israel continued today to build up troops and armour on the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground invasion.
The military’s aerial campaign saw a series of strikes start early today, including one that hit a centre for the disabled.
The attack in the northern Gaza Strip killed two women and wounded four, the centre’s director said.
Other targets included a bank, the homes of Hamas leaders and a mosque that the Israeli military said was being used to store weapons.
Today’s deaths raised the toll in five days of violence to 127, Gaza medics said.
In Washington, the White House has said it was willing to “leverage” its relationships in the region to bring about a ceasefire.
The chief diplomats of Britain, France, Germany and the United States are also due to discuss how to achieve a truce when they meet in Vienna tomorrow, on the sidelines of talks on Iran’s nuclear programme.
First posted at 6.14pm. Includes reporting from AFP.