THOUSANDS PROTEST FOR PALESTINE IN DURBAN
By: Khanyisani Dlomo
Traffic came to a standstill on Friday as thousands poured through central Durban to call for an end to Israeli action in Gaza, as the conflict in the troubled region shows no sign of abating.
Pro-Palestine supporters carrying placards with messages such as “End Israeli’s Attacks on Gaza, Stop Gaza Massacre” and “Free Palestine” marched from Grey Street Mosque, to Dr Pixely kaSeme (West) Street and then to City Hall.
Angry protesters could be seen chanting “Free, Free Palestine” and burning the Israel flag. Some waved placards asking how many people should die before action to end “disproportionate” killing of innocent people is taken.
On Friday the death toll soared as Israeli airstrikes continued to pummel a wide range of locations in Gaza – leaving 9 people dead. The number of Palestinian death in the past 18 days of conflict has surpassed 800, with most casualties being civilians, including dozens of children.
The march, which was organised by the KwaZulu-Natal Palestine Solidarity Forum and associated NGO’s, called for the expulsion of Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa. This protest mirrored that which took place in Cape Town where more than 40 000 poured through the city to show their solidarity.
The memorandum, which was handed to eThekwini Municipality Mayor James Nxumalo for an “urgent” action, called for the SA government to immediately “expel the Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk from South Africa and recall SA’s Ambassador to Tel Aviv as a form of diplomatic protest”.
Nxumalo decried incursion into Gaza as genocide and condemned Israeli.
“Down with the killing of innocent people down. Down with Israel, down,” Nxumalo said to a cheerful crown.
“On behalf of eThekwini metro, we condemn the killing of innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children.
“South Africa is not free until Palestinian people are free. We stand by the people of Palestine. From now on we will join you until Israel is defeated,” Nxumalo added.
ANC KZN Secretary General, Sihle Zikalala said, “We pledge our solidarity to the people of Palestine. We are concerned about the violation of human rights. Israel doesn’t have a right to kill innocent people. We stand by the sovereignty of Palestine. We stand for peace and freedom of Palestine.”
A 17-year-old Quraisha Osman said Israelis have no conscience. “What is happening in Gaza breaks my heart. We plead for peace and freedom for Palestinians,” Osman said. “The youth in Palestine are brave, they are not afraid of going out and fighting for their country but other countries need to stand together for Palestine.”