Thousands march in Cape Town, call for ceasefire in Gaza

Protesters demand that South Africans who join Israeli Defence Force be prosecuted

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Thousands of people marched in Cape Town calling for genocide in Gaza to be prevented. Gaza is one of the two Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Several thousand people marched through the streets of Salt River, Cape Town, on Sunday in a show of solidarity for the people of Palestine.

The march was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Salt River Heritage Society. It was one of many pro-Palestine marches across the world this weekend.

Protesters made their way from Albert Road to a sports field outside the Blackpool community hall where a rally was held. Protesters held placards and flags, while chants of “free Palestine” and “stop the genocide, stop the hate” were heard.

The watermelon has become a symbol of Palestinian solidarity because the fruit contains the colours of the Palestinian flag.

The protesters demanded that the Israeli embassy be shut down. They also called for an immediate ceasefire and for support for humanitarian aid for Gaza. They called for South Africans who serve in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to be prosecuted.

Reverend Allan Boesak called for the South African government to cut ties with Israel. “Palestinians can do nothing while their children die,” he said. “Joe Biden cannot go to visit Israel and then say a few words about humanitarian aid and then give more billions to Israel just to keep the war going. That kind of hypocrisy must end now.”

Allan Boesak, a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, addressed the crowd.

Addressing the crowd, Boesak said he could see the tide turning. He cited a march of over 100,000 people in London over the weekend and hundreds of American Jewish protesters who occupied the US Congress last week Thursday calling for a ceasefire.

“It means to me that [Israeli] propaganda is no longer working,” he said.

Judy Favish, a member of South African Jews for Free Palestine (SAJFP), said that the government needed to move from words to actions. “It is important to signal that there are Jews who believe that the words Never again mean never again for anybody. Solidarity with Palestinians is not a Muslim issue it is a universal issue,” she said.

Never again is a phrase used to mean that the Holocaust of World War II, in which six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, should never happen again.

On Friday evening over 50 people joined a picket on the Sea Point promenade. The picket was called a Shabbat against genocide, said Mitchel Joffe Hunter of South African Jews for a Free Palestine, which organised the event. “What’s happening in Palestine is not a religious issue. It’s not a cultural issue. But It’s an issue of human rights. It’s an issue of settler colonialism. It’s an issue of dignity and liberation for people,” he said.

The organisers committed to protest on 28 October to report back on the government’s response to their demands.

There have been several marches and demonstrations in Cape Town over the last few weeks.

On 7 October Hamas militants entered Israel and killed about 1,400 people, most of them civilians. In response, Israel cut off food supplies, water and electricity to Gaza. Over 4,000 Palestinians, including many women and children, have been killed since the bombardment of Gaza by the IDF began two weeks ago. Over 20 journalists and several UN workers have also been killed.

A demonstrator stands in front of a mural of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock mosque in Salt River.

Correction on 2023-10-25 08:29

Caption of the last photo incorrectly stated that the mural was of Al Aqsa. The mural is of Dome of the Rock mosque.

TOPICS:  Human Rights Israel-Palestine

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