MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
Protesters march to Parliament in support of Palestine
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.
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.
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”
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.
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