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Tens of thousands protest against Israel in Cape Town

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Tens of thousands of South Africans on Saturday staged a protest outside the parliament building in Cape Town to ask the government to take what they called "decisive diplomatic action" toward Israel's ongoing attacks against the Gaza Strip. Muhammad Desai, a member of the global campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, said the protesters who attended to the parliament building want their government to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations of international law.  "Among other things, our government must recall the South African Ambassador from Tel Aviv as a form of diplomatic protest and expel the Israeli Ambassador from South Africa as a form of diplomatic protest," Desai added in a statement. Behind him, the crowd was chanting "Free Palestine" as the protesters marched through the streets of Cape Town's Central Business District. The protesters also carried placards on which they called on their government to boycott Israel.
"Isolate Apartheid Israel," read one of the placards. "End the war in Palestine," read another. The protest was organized by a wide range of South African civil society organizations, trade unions and political parties under the umbrella of the "National Coalition 4 Palestine". Several high-profile dignitaries, including Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela, participated in the protest. Edwin Arrison of the National Coalition 4 Palestine, meanwhile, said a petition was handed over to parliament outlining the demands of the protesters.
"I have never seen such a huge protest," Arrison, also the secretary-general of Kairos Southern Africa, told AA.
"It was really massive,” Cape Town resident Abdul Mohammed said. South Africans had staged several protests and marches in solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza ever since Israel started its offensive on the Palestinian territory on July 7. Israel has resumed its attacks against different parts of the Gaza Strip since Friday, a short time after a three-day humanitarian ceasefire came to an end in the Palestinian enclave. Around 11 Gazans were killed by Israeli strikes until the evening of Saturday, according to Palestinian medical sources.
The Palestinians and the Israelis had been negotiating a durable arrangement in Gaza in the Egyptian capital Cairo until early Friday, but the Israeli delegation had left to Tel Aviv, leaving the Palestinian delegation behind in Cairo. At least 1904 people were killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza since July 7 and 9817 others injured. Thousands of homes have also been destroyed in the offensive.
Around 64 Israeli soldiers have also been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip and three civilians by rocket fire, according to Israeli figures.
By Hassan Isilow

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