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Protesters march to Parliament in support of Palestine

Protesters march to Parliament in support of Palestine
Pro-Palestine supporters at the 'Gaza March to Parliament' in Cape Town, on 1 November 2023. (Photo: Jim Mohlala)

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Cape Town on Wednesday in support of the people of Palestine. Many said they were calling out to government to act with immediate effect and show solidarity with the civilians of Gaza by shutting down the Israeli embassy in South Africa

On Wednesday, 1 November 2023, hundreds of Capetonians marched through the streets of Cape Town calling on the South African government to shut down the Israeli embassy. 

This followed fierce air and artillery strikes in Gaza early on Monday, 30 October, as Israeli troops pressed into the Palestinian enclave with a ground assault that prompted more international calls for civilians to be protected. 

Read more in Daily Maverick:Fierce clashes in Gaza as Israeli forces expand ground offensive

The march, led by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, started outside the Cape Peninsula University of Technology parking lot in Cape Town. 

Gaza Parliament

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside of Cape Town City Hall before the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement  on 1 November 2023. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

This protest followed a protest two weeks ago in which more than a thousand people marched through the streets of Cape Town on 13 October in support of the people of Palestine.

The protesters held signs that said, “Expel the Israeli ambassador” and “Free Palestine”, with some of the protesters carrying corpse bags that symbolised the dozens of Gaza’s residents killed by air strikes and bombardment. 


Police push back pro-Palestinian demonstrators from the Cape Town City Hall on 1 November 2023. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Abeedah Adams, a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, told Daily Maverick it is not the end, they will continue pressuring the government to act immediately. 

“Look it is obviously not the end, we know that continued and concerted pressure and pressing this issue hard on our government by continuously highlighting the acts of genocide that are being televised, shows this is not about politics, this is about humanity,” she said.

Adams added that “we cannot be sitting aside when people are … killed and bombed on a daily basis and we simply do nothing,” she explained. 

“We must remember that in our apartheid past it was the international community that helped us and showed solidarity. If we show the same solidarity it will give the Palestinian people motivation to keep fighting till they’re free,” she said.

The protest occurred at the same time that Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, was delivering the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement to the National Assembly at the Cape Town City Hall. 

Read more in Daily Maverick:Budget in a box — your summary here

Police force back pro-Palestinian demonstrators from Cape Town City Hall during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on 1 November 2023. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Reverend Allan Boesak addressed the crowd and said they have been calling for the South African government to shut down the Israeli embassy and show solidarity with the people of Palestine. 

“We’ve been asking this for weeks now. The Israeli embassy should shut down, the ambassador and all his people should leave and go back to Israel. The South African Embassy in Israel should be closed. We want to show Palestine that we’re really in solidarity,” he said.

Boesak added “to stand up for Palestine is to be on the side of justice, to stand up for the children of Gaza is to be on the side of justice, to stand up for the oppressed and colonised in Palestine is to stand up for justice. We’re standing in the name of justice and peace. We shall remain strong, faithful and peaceful in every way,” Reverend explained. 

“We protest today joining hands as old and young people in the name of Palestine. We say if you’re not completely free we’re not too. As long as you face guns, dogs and tear gas we say we’re sitting with the same,” said Reverend Boesak. 

According to a report by Al Jazeera the World Health Organization welcomed the first evacuations of wounded patients out of the Gaza Strip, but stressed that thousands of injured civilians and people with chronic illnesses also need treatment.

A Palestine supporter at the ‘Gaza March to Parliament’ in Cape Town on 1 November 2023. (Photo: Jim Mohlala)

The health ministry in Gaza says nearly 8,800 people have been killed since the war with Israel erupted. The death toll includes more than 3,600 children, while more than 22,000 people have been wounded. The Hamas attack on 7 October killed 1,300 Israelis and injured over 3,000.

In Palestine more than 1,000 patients need kidney dialysis to stay alive, 2,000 patients are on cancer therapy, 45,000 people have cardiovascular disease; and more than 60,000 have diabetes.

The Cape Town march was supported by numerous lobby and political groups including the PAC, ANC, COSATU and the UDM. A marcher who appeared to be a member of People Against Gangsterism and Drugs was seen by Daily Maverick chanting “Shame on you, shame on you, we’re not scared of you” as police directed the marchers to return to their starting point. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

    What a list of society’s paragons of virtue we have here:
    PAC, ANC, COSATU, Alan Boesak and for good measure “a marcher who appeared to be a member of People Against Gangsterism and Drugs was seen”.
    Absolutely nothing more needs to be said….

  • Graeme J says:

    I note that the protestors did not condem the slaughter of Israelis by Hamas.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    So I am curious as to the point of the march, other than blowing off steam and feeling like they are doing something…?

    I mean… what’s the purpose? Ok so let’s say that they ACTUALLY managed to get the attention of … hell.. let’s go for broke with this one… the president

    And then let’s say that he is somehow swayed beyond his own capability to stop himself, and he suddenly becomes the most pro-Palistine president in the whole world.

    Then what?

    …Ring ring…. click!

    “Hi Benjamin, this is Cyril”
    “Cyril! Cyril Ramapohosa!”
    “Who? Not ringing any bells, how did you get this number?”
    “Cyril Ramaphosa, man, the president of South Africa”
    “Oh yeah… right… ok be quick… what do you want?”
    “Benajamin, my brother, please stop this war in Gaza and what what, please man”
    “Hey Cyril, you sort out your country, then we maybe talk ok, goodbye”


  • Caroline de Braganza says:

    It saddens me that the comments sections features people who have no empathy for the suffering of others. It’s not okay for Russia to bomb Ukraine, kill innocent civilians, including women and children, but the Israeli government gets a free pass to condemn innocent civilians in Gaza to a life of hell, death and destruction.

    Nobody condones what Hamas did on 7 October. By the same token, we should not condone what the Israeli government are doing now.

    The point of the march and hundreds of other marches across the world, is to highlight the plight of 2.3 million people caught up in this fight. For instance, the cancer hospital is now closed leaving those patients to die a horrible death for lack of treatment.

    I can only assume those posting here supported apartheid and have no compassion for people who are “different’.

    People are people, women are women, children are children, and no person anywhere in the world deserves to suffer – including in Israel and Gaza.

    War never brings peace.

    • Graeme J says:

      “Nobody condones what Hamas did on 7 October.”

      And there you have it wrong. You are probably using the “collective nobody” in terms of the civilised world.

      Iranian officials praised it “as a momentous achievement, shattering the Jewish state’s sense of security”. For more than four decades, Iran’s rulers have pledged to destroy Israel.

      Just wait until Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah makes his speach tomorrow afternoon, and you may want to think again.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      “Nobody condones what Hamas did on 7 October. By the same token, we should not condone what the Israeli government are doing now.”

      Ja, but neither do they go marching against it. On the contrary, in various parts of the world including here people draped in the same regalia and carrying the same flags were actively celebrating it in public. They also didn’t march against the rocket attacks that have been going on for years like all year rain. I assume you must be able to see how that makes the message land differently depending on the intensity of ones hatred for Jew.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        To go further Mike, have you ever seen Israelis or Jews celebrating the death of Palestinians in public, never mind heard it said in private? It’s just not our DNA. Have you heard any pro-Israel rally chant “Death to … (whoever)”. We say “Am Yisrael Chai” (“The People of Israel Live”). Such a fundamental differnec in values.

    • Pet Bug says:

      Generally, war does not bring peace.
      Some do: WW2 did in Europe and Asia. And for almost 90 years, these regions have had the best times and growth in their existences.

      The wars in the Middle East were all started by Arab nations. The Arab states always lost.
      And never brought peace.
      You’ve got to ask Why?
      Syria, Egypt Jordan Lebanon, they all fought Israel, not for the so-called Palestinians, but for their own advantages and wanting more land.
      The last thing they wanted was a functioning Palestine state. These are all authoritarian regimes in total contract to the democratic Jewish state.

      With this war, Hamas starts it and culls babies, mothers and daughters.
      Not Hamas, or the Palestinians can now be surprised and upset that Israel is defending itself.
      War is terrible and causes untold misery.
      But Hamas is the culprit and all anger must be directed at this outfit.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Caroline de Braganza you are entitled to your opinion, and to want to show your compassion, but it’s a big leap to say that “I can only assume those posting here supported apartheid and have no compassion for people who are “different’.”

      How is this for “different”?:
      Of the 8 billion human beings in the world today, there are approximately 2.4 billion adherents to Christianity (31.6%), 1.8 billion Muslims (24.1%) and around 16 million Jews (0.2%). There are 103 Christian nations, 56 Muslim ones and only one Jewish state, Israel, which constitutes 0.025% of the land mass of the Middle East. Do you the notice the “different” one, the only one who’s right to exist is the only one regularly challenged?

      With due respect.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Remind me again why it’s OK for Hamas to kill Israeli civilians?

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