SEVERAL THOUSAND PEOPLE have taken part in a protest in Dublin city centre against the ongoing situation in Palestine.
Protesters lay down in front of Leinster House as a ‘die-in’ to show solidarity with the people in Gaza and to symbolise the number of deaths in the region.
A total of 337 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the past twelve days in the bloodiest conflict in the area for several years.
The protest, organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, is believed to be one of the biggest pro-Palestinian marches in several years.
“What’s happening is appalling,” said Freda Hughes, one of the organisers told TheJournal.ie. ”We’re looking at over 300 people dead, about 70 of whom are children, and the targeting of a captive civilian population”.
She said the march had brought out a “really wide cross-section of Irish society”.
“It’s a shame to have to be out in the first place, but given that Israel have continued and upgraded its assault, we had to. We’re very happy with how it went,” she said.
There was a minor incident at the Israeli embassy when one protester was stopped by gardáí when he tried to get onto the embassy grounds.
Several protesters burned an Israeli flag outside the Israeli embassy.
Speaking before the march, Hughes criticised the use of “indiscriminate targeting” of civilians by the Israeli army. ”Israel is an occupying force and they have a responsibility to the population they hold captive to uphold international law and to respect human rights”.
She said if Israel is serious about peace, the country needs to engage with Hamas as the democratically-elected government of Gaza. “Both sides need to try to come to a meaningful end to the conflict – not just what’s been happening in recent days, but a real end to it”.
She called on the Irish government to join other countries in calling for an arms embargo in Israel, and also put pressure on Israel to uphold its agreement to uphold international law under a preferential trade agreement it has signed with the EU.
The protest began at the Spire on O’Connell Street at 2pm before moving to the Dáil and then the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge.
Originally published 12.26pm