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Tens of thousands march through Cape Town in solidarity with Palestinians

Tens of thousands march through Cape Town in solidarity with Palestinians
A man releases smoke with the colours of the Palestinian flag during the march. Despite the protest’s size, at the time of writing, we are unaware of any incidents. It appears to have been entirely peaceful. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

Call for Western Cape government to stand with Palestine as it has with Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of people marched through Cape Town city centre on Saturday, many calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. It was one of the biggest protests in the city for several years, perhaps only exceeded in size by a protest against a previous war between Israel and Gaza.

The march started at the Muir Street Mosque in District Six and ended at the Western Cape provincial legislature in Wale Street.

The protest, organised by several civil society organisations and political parties, comes more than a month after armed militias from Hamas entered Israel and killed over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped over 200 people to Gaza, keeping them as hostages. In response, Israel has bombed the Gaza Strip, killing over 11,000 people, including several thousand children. It has also intensified its blockade of Gaza.

Israeli settlers and soldiers have also been attacking Palestinians in the West Bank, and nearly 200 people have been killed since 7 October.

The Gaza Strip and West Bank constitute the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which have been controlled by Israel since 1967.

Protesters called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as they marched through Cape Town on Saturday. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

Marchers lined the streets of Cape Town with flags and posters. They chanted: “By the million, by the billion, we are all Palestinian” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

There were also chants directed at US President Joe Biden such as “How many children did you kill today?”

At the start of the march, organisers called for discipline and reminded the crowd that they were not anti-Jewish, but anti-Zionist. A group of protesters chanted in support of Hamas, including some official speakers.

The protest proceeded through the streets of Cape Town. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

The official list of demands of the protest were:

  1. “That the Western Cape Government pledges unequivocal support and solidarity with the people of Palestine, just as they stood by the people of Ukraine.
  2. That the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, condemns the atrocious war crimes of Benjamin Netanyahu and promises to arrest him, just as he promised to arrest Vladimir Putin.
  3. That the Western Cape Government condemns the apartheid state of Israel just as it condemned the Russian Federation and the Premier condemns the United States of America for its hand in the mass killing of innocent people.”

This video gives some idea of how large the protest was but it doesn’t capture the entire length of the march. Video: Matthew Hirsch

Speakers from the ANC and the EFF urged protesters not to vote for the DA in the upcoming 2024 national elections. International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor and the DA have both declared their support for a Palestinian state (or “two-state solution”). In Parliament last week, Pandor proposed a seven-step plan for the UN to end the conflict.

Last week DA leader John Steenhuisen removed Ghaleb Cachalia from his shadow cabinet. This after Cachalia had tweeted that he would not “be silenced” while Israel was “committing a genocide”.

A statement from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign prior to the march read: “As members of the Cape Town community, we want to hold our provincial government accountable to the values espoused by the Constitution of South Africa. We want to remind our provincial government that statements are hollow without concomitant action and in order to live in a truly transformed South Africa, we must oppose all forms of racism, bigotry, discrimination and oppression.”

A statement from the South African Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Coalition on Friday said that people in Gaza were starving. They called for an immediate ceasefire and a mass delivery of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

Father Michael Weeder, Dean of St George’s Cathedral, addressed the marchers. He called on world leaders to spend less money on wars and more money on peace-making.

Reverend Allan Boesak reiterated the demand to shut down the Israeli embassy.

In the West Bank, Israel has officially separated life between Israeli settlers and Palestinians, including imposing separate legal systems, roads and much else. This has led to the accusation that Israel has implemented apartheid. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

While the march was taking place, a Twitter user wrote: “This is Cape Town today – how does this get past the City of Cape Town planning and approval process?”

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis responded: “This march looks entirely peaceful and lawful. You may disagree with it, but that is not a valid objection in a free democracy.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Israel-Palestine War

There have been several events in solidarity with Palestinians over the weekend. On Friday night, a Shabbat service was hosted by South African Jews For a Free Palestine on the Sea Point beachfront. It was the fourth such event and organisers say they plan to take it to other parts of the city in the coming weeks.

On Saturday morning, a group of activists also put up posters on the Sea Point beachfront of Palestinian children who had been killed in the conflict so far. This was also apparently in response to a campaign of posters known as #KidnappedFromIsrael which shows Israelis kidnapped by Hamas and taken as hostages to Gaza. (For a detailed description of poster campaigns around the world, read Chris McGreal’s article in The Guardian: ‘It’s like a fire in the world’: how the Israeli ‘kidnapped’ posters set off a phenomenon and a backlash.)

Posters commemorating Palestinians killed in the war have been placed on the Sea Point beachfront. (Photo: Matthew Hirsch)

Israel has rejected several calls for a ceasefire. But on Thursday, The US said Israel had agreed to a “four-hour pause” to allow humanitarian aid in. Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, was reportedly hit by Israeli missiles after this.

There is expected to be a pro-Israel protest in Sea Point on Sunday November 12. There is also expected to be a counterprotest.

(Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

First published by GroundUp.



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Hamas attacked and killed Israeli civilians without warning.

    The Ukraine committed no aggression against Russia.

    On what planet are these scenarios the same?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    My view is that people’s opinions on this topic in the main have little to no relationship with fact, logic or rationality.

    • Dietmar Horn says:

      Psychological explanation: group solidarity triggered by interested parties in a previously one-sidedly indoctrinated mass audience. Worked under Hitler and Stalin. Also works under Putin and Xi and of course also in Islamic society.

  • Denise Smit says:

    Put up pictures of all the Israelis killed in the most brutal manner ever by nothing but Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists (that says everything) funded by Iran (South Africas buddy}.Denise Smit

    • Louise Louise says:

      Yes, I agree with you. And whilst we are at it, let’s document all the deaths in Palestine since 1947/48 on both sides. Let’s document each and every man, woman and child who has died on both sides. Let’s tally up how many Palestinians versus how many immigrants/Israelis. Each death is tragic and unnecessary. But who was the initial aggressor? I’m not taking sides except for the innocent civilians on both sides of this terrible history.

      And whilst all of this awful, horrific situation continues, look at what else is happening to everyone in this “chaotic” world – digital IDs, CBDCs, online censorship, public facial recognition tracking, W.H.O. Pandemic Treaty (causing loss of sovereignty in member nations). Everywhere ALL of our freedoms are being eroded whilst we are distracted with the wars, conflicts and useless/pointless political arguments over whether Biden or Trump will “win”.

      “Divide and Rule” – works every time. I realise you care deeply about the Israelis, and I also care about those who are totally innocent bystanders. But I also care about all the people who are suffering in this world of ours – and who continue to suffer due to politics, greed, contrived conflicts and brutal psychopaths.

      Taking sides in a conflict dehumanises the suffering of the innocents. The Israelis are on record calling the Palestinians “human animals”, as though this is reason enough to kill them all. Isn’t this what the Nazis called the Jews?

      • Ben Harper says:

        Israel had no control over Gaza and the West Bank in 48, Gaza was controlled by Egypt and West Bank by Jordan up to the 6 day war in 1967, so please stop with the propaganda

  • Dave Hansen says:

    Interesting!! So those supporting Palestine have zero demands for the end of Hamas terrorism and say nothing about the Hamas barbaric slaughter??? So suddenly its all about Israel!

    • Dave Hansen says:

      … also zero mention of the Hamas hero’s sheltering below civilians, schools, care centres etc using civilians to shield them! Also no mention of their lies to everyone- ‘we only target military’ – what liars and yes, only the woke believe them!

  • Joe Public says:

    I think the DA has lost massive support in the Western Cape & other provinces by refusing to condemn Israel’s continued bombing of hospitals, ambulances, schools, refugee camps etc. The turnout from yesterday’s march speaks volumes. Suddenly, things look very good for the ANC in the Western Cape & others provinces

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    My spidey sense says that a significant portion of that crowd couldn’t find Gaza on an unlabeled map and were there in support of Hamas rather than Palestinians. What on earth has an endless conflict in the middle east got to do with us other than the fact that a tiny minority of our population shares religions with the protagonists? Where are the marches against what’s happening in Sudan?

    • Denise Smit says:

      Or in Ukraine, DRC, Uganda where two tourists (one South African were killed by Islamic Jihad. And what about Mosambiqeu where ISIS are active. One common denomator, war on people of other religeons. Denise Smit

  • Allan Wolman Wolman says:

    The source of information being the ‘Hamas Health Authority’, yes that same ‘reliable’ source that told you that Israel had bombed a hospital, which turned out to be an errant Hamas rocket. That very same source of info wont tell us that combatants and civilians wear the same uniform, so how many of the victims are actually civilians? And they still believe that child soldiers are only found in West Africa?

  • Steve Marks says:

    Perhaps a little balance? Not a fair reflection of events. Totally biased. Disappointing editorial.

  • Dietmar Horn says:

    Such marches are currently a phenomenon in many Western democracies. There are more or less large, immigrant Islamic communities, which in turn are indoctrinated and instrumentalized by Islamist organizations and governments in order to undermine the liberal values ​​in these states and distract from the instability of their religious-autocratic systems. In this respect, a community of interests connects them with left and right autocratic systems. The democratically elected governments must first deal with this appropriately in the interest of their own internal peace and this will then determine their respective foreign policy positioning in the Middle East conflict. Due to the existing constitution, I (still) count South Africa as part of the Western community of states, even if the current government and many in the country may see it differently. In my opinion, the march described here is a propaganda event by the government, which is not due to internal peace in the country but to maintaining power.

    • Ben Harper says:

      in SA it’s not about religion at all, it’s race that is driving it. The narrative is that Israel = apartheid SA which couldn’t be further from the truth BUT it is guaranteed to illicit emotional support for their cause and is the typical strategy for extremist groups

  • Ken Shai says:

    Russia launched preemptive strike at Ukraine who mobilized its troops to seize back Crimea and Donbass , the former part of Russia since 2014 coup engineered by US that installed US puppet regime in Ukraine the latter autonomous with rights of Russian population respected. Ukraine broke both treaties. Just consider what Ukraine’s war goals are, reconquest of Russian controlled territories and they still stick to those goal even now after horrendous losses. But even in hard conditions, Russian troops take utmost care to minimize civilian victims, even Putin decided against assault on Kiev for that reason when that would have ended the war.
    On the contrary, Israel’s goals, like that of their Nazi mentors was to clean Israel of Palestinians, doing their best to make their life intolerable and populate their land with Jews. Just like Nazis wanted to clean up land for settlement by the master race Germans by exterminating native populations , Israel does exactly the same. The abuse got more horrific in recent years and thousands of Palestinians were imprisoned arbitrarily. Hamas is a liberation organization but smeared as terrorists, just like the guerillas resisting Nazis were smeared as terrorists, and Nazis were destroying population centers if guerilla attacks originated from those centers, so Israelis follow Nazi playbook one to one.
    The fact that DA supports Israel in this situation shows them as total puppet of the Biden regime, unable to act independently and asking the Biden regime for orders on all issues. I hope that at least Muslim community and hopefully many others would make a decision now not to allow DA come anywhere close to power since they do not care about SA national interest, all they care is following the orders of the Biden regime, their total masters.

  • John Lewis says:

    Also, it’s interesting that there were no marches about the 500,000 civilians slaughtered by Arabs in Yemen or Saudi Arabia. And little interest in the ongoing Uyghur genocide in China. What’s the deal with that? I suspect the motives of many protesters are sinster indeed.

  • Leslie van Minnen says:

    I was just wondering where Alan Boesak crept out of. All of a sudden his comments mean something. Like many others who fell from grace he should rather just his thoughts to himself.
    Recall our ambassadors he shouts. What about the despotic regime of Iran who murders women because they wear the wrong dress. I see no comment from Boesak et al on this and other dictatorship’s who continue with human rights abusers on a daily basis. Hypocrites, just like the ANC government that he obviously supports.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Alan Boesak and PAGAD, then let’s add in every ANC bigwig worth their salt and the EFF to boot, in a cause championed by Iran. All the credentials necessary to set a clear moral compass, right? If anyone believes that this has anything to do “human rights” then they should put money on Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout playing Rocky Bilboa in the next sequel. If you just landed on this planet and knew absolutely nothing about this subject – all that’s needed is to look at who this lot is cheering for and that should make things crystal clear.

  • Leslie van Minnen says:

    Just noticed in the article that the Muslim protesters will march in Sea point today.
    Ironic that they do this on a Christian holy day. Why did they not do this on Friday, a Muslim holy day. Respect?
    Just a thought.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    It was heartning to see the march in Cape Town and the massive support for the end to violence in Gaza. As long as Netanyahu and the ultra right wing Zionists dominate the Knesset, there will be no peace in the Middle East. Another Israel thug called for the rogue state of Israel to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza this was the Minister of Heritage . Eliyahu. The attacks in Gaza and WEst Bank and the continued taking of hostages by the Israel military has to be condemned. The events of the 7th of October, were unacceptable although they did not happen in a vacuum but in the context of the terrorist activities by the rogue Israel state that has had a brutal occupation of Palestine and a suffocating blockade of Gaza including murders and rape by the Israel military against the Palestinians. The public support for the end to the murder in Gaza that is growing all over the world shows that humanity has not been lost amongst the peoples of the world. We are waiting for the ICC to act against the Israel criminals and to indict them like they have done with Putin. The US support of Israel with its British poodle does not surprise us. We are also heartened by the position of sections of South African Jewish and even across the world who have shown their humanity and have called for a cease fire and condemned the ultra right wing Israel. The public pressure throughout the world is going to put pressure on the heartless Biden and Sunak. As usual we will ignore the Apartheid dinosaurs.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:


    • Alan Watkins says:

      Include something about”the running dogs of western imperialism” and your terminology and wordage will have reached that of communist china’s in about 1970.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      The only South African Jewish support is in a few disingenuous pictures and articles here. There were kapos in Nazi Germany too, who ended up in the gas chambers alongside their fellow Jews, despite their self-hatred. Let us “hearten” you that the SA Jewish community has a proud history of being amongst the strongest pro-zionistic in the diaspora, and that is not changing (its only getting stronger)

  • Biff Trotters says:

    Reminder to self: DO NOT READ the comments below any Palestine-related piece in the DM for they pollute the mind.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      Has your mind has been ‘biffed’ …or have you just had ‘trotters’ education ? You are fortunate to be even able to comment on/in DM . BUT then … judging by several similar comments, you are not the only one … you have ‘good’ company !

  • Reading the majority of comments on the “Solidarity for Palestine ” March,I would say to them,, leave South Africa…we need ppl who have some humanity in them….because you have no idea what it was to live under Apartheid .We still have anger and there are ppl who have hatred towards the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the benefits of this system…another concern is the Nazionists who went to fight in this genocidal “war”will be coming “home” and should be prepared for any eventuality…

    • Graeme de Villiers says:

      What the ACTUAL f*** is a Nazionist? The term itself is unbelivably ignorant and insulting. And by the way, what do you do with all the time you saved by writing ‘ppl’?

    • Ben Harper says:


    • Ben Harper says:

      And YOU have no idea what it’s like under a radical islamist regime! Go live in Afghanistan under the Taliban or Iran under the Ayatollah, better yet, go live in a proper Arab country where you will most likely be regarded as sub-human and lower than a camel – don’t believe me – go try it

  • Dr Know says:

    It is all quite simple once you ignore the rabid outbursts and hysteria. A supporter of Palestine is a human being with empathy for the horror going on there. A supporter of Hamas is a supporter of terrorism, evil and death. Which side were these ‘Capetonians’ actually supporting?
    Israel was attacked, what should they have done, turned the other cheek? Let Hamas raise the murdered Jewish babies from the dead if they are so righteous. Perhaps we need to screen these horrible killings in Israel alongside the bleeding heart newsreels giving airtime to unconfirmed claims and balance out the views a little.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Lets see – their protest went off unhindered and without incident THEN they thought it a good idea to go and attack the prop Israel protesters down the road. This speaks volumes – they DO NOT want Peace, they want an excuse for violence

    • Jacques Stoop says:

      Yes beause murdering a bunch of Palestinian civillians solves the problem? They won’t destroy hamas they will only anger more palestinians into joining hamas so they are shooting themselves in the foot. In my opinion turning the other cheek when it is hard to do is exactly the kind of thing a religious person should aspire to do according to their own values. In this case it makes sense since it gives them the moral high ground. Right now they are playing into hamas’ hands and making themselves look worse with this completely disproportional response. This problem will not be solved with violence.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Then you don’t understand the situation there or the objectives of Hamas

        • Jacques Stoop says:

          No I understand that Hamas is intent on destroying Israel, I understand that they are almost impossible to negotiate with. You don’t understand that this violence will not solve that. For every hamas militant killed 100s more civillians are killed. This will only lead to more radicalization and perhaps something worse than Hamas. This violence will solve nothing. Tell me where I’m wrong.

  • The Gaza Strip is not part of land occupied by Israel and is not part of the West Bank.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    There will never be any winners, when one religion vows to destroy another at any cost.

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Remarkable how most of the comments seem to have forgotten that Israel and America were the last two countries who continued their unequivocal support of our apartheid regime, while choosing to label the ANC as ‘terrorist/s’ etc. The apartheid regime’s efforts to appoint puppet ‘leaders’ including a tri-cameral parliament, instead of democratic elections of the oppressed people, with most confined to the ‘homeland’ ghettos, (a source of cheap labour), eventually collapsed under ‘international’ pressure and sanctions (including sport and culture). Does the preceding remind anyone of someone/entity still pursuing the same path and ideology that our apartheid regime did ? Of course it is pursuing ‘normalising’ relations with certain ‘arab’ entities who share some of their ideology . As for the demonising of Hamas, remember it only came into existence long after the formation of ‘Israeli’. And guess who ‘supported’ it then when it served their interest of ‘opposing’ the PLO ? Remarkable … as I said . Veritably history repeating itself .

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      …and the people have it so good now right. Time of their lives. Nothing like a little murder, starvation, unemployment, crime, darkness and dirty water to bring on celebrations of all democracy has achieved for all our people. Yes its the worst it’s ever been for everyone, but at least we’re all sinking equally right?

    • Rod H MacLeod says:

      And the homeland “ghettos” persist to this day – 30 years after their liberation. In fact, they’re worse than ghettos. They’re wastelands. Look at the former Transkei – it’s a sh!thole, without water and sanitation. Look at the former KZN – it’s a sh!thole without water and sanitation. Look at the former Ciskei – it’s a sh!hole without water and sanitation. And none of them have the semblance of a road infrastructure that existed 30 years ago. No rail network. Load shedding. And a civil service that is now 4 times the size it was 30 years ago. What a price to pay for … liberty? Maybe it is just history veritably repeating itself – back to the heart of darkness we march.

      • Ben Harper says:

        But he has to have something to be angry about, you know, never their own fault, never take responsibility for their own actions but rather blame their failures in life to woes long gone in the past

    • Ben Harper says:

      Shame, all that pent up anger! If you spent a fraction of that energy on improving yourself you will live a much longer more fruitful life

    • Ben Harper says:

      Pray tell, why was it necessary for the pro-palestinian supporters to attack the pro Israeli group holding a prayer meeting in Sea Point this weekend? Did anyone from the pro-Israeli group attack them when they had their protest?

      You’re good a pointing fingers and laying blame at the feet of others… oh wait – that is your modus operandi- deflect, deflect, deflect

  • Rae Earl says:

    I am a neutral observer on what is happening in Israel and Palestine and as such, I would urge all sane people whether they are Muslems, Jews, or any other faith, to listen to this podcast by philosopher and neuroscientist and social commentator, Sam Harris. It paints a frightening picture of what has caused this war in the middle East.

    • Melanie Dass Moodley says:

      Thank you for sharing the podcast. Even though the Jewish bias is evident, it’s well worth the read/listen. Regardless of the side we take, we must never shy away from bringing ‘uncomfortable truths’ into the light for scrutiny. And this applies equally to all of us. It’s the only way we can make progress as a human race.

  • Paul Gray says:

    I think the scary thing is Daily Maverick just repeats nonsense without informing the reader that several of the pro-palestinian claims have been debunked.
    This war is less about Israel and Palestine and more about how media is used to manipulate people into supporting an ideology.
    This is about the third of fourth instance of poor, biased reporting by the Maverick. Easy fix, my monthly subscription just got cancelled.

    • Carol Green says:

      And some basic fact checking. Gaza is not occupied, Israel pulled out in 2005. There was no blockade until Hamas started its deadly suicide bombing campaign.

    • Winston Bigsby says:

      Agreed Paul. Same during Scam 19, DM wouldn’t even allow this commentary. Some cop out disclaimer about the Gubbamunt and dis-information. As most rational adults are just spreaders of mis/dis infomasheen!

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    This conflict started many, many hundreds of years ago, not on October 7th, so this sudden outrage is inexplicable. The media and social media indoctrination continues. Social media is the world’s worst-ever mass-indoctination campaign ever created.

  • Ben Harper says:

    Now this weekend’s events in Cape Town are a perfect mirror of what’s happening in the conflict. Pro Palestinian protesters have their march unhindered and free. Pro Israel protesters have their march and get attacked by the Prop Palestinian mob. And people wonder why there is conflict in there today!

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    In all this rabble rousing the naïve and malleable forget that Russia declared war on the Ukraine through its invasion and Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza strip declared war on Israel through its attack on citizens. Any country has the right to defend itself as many countries did when Nazi Germany invaded them. In the end the aggressors will always lose, and this applies for thousands of years .

  • Awareness Publishing Mike says:

    Don’t you agree with me? Aren’t you tired of having to listen over and over again to the “Audio sponsored by Stand Up Business podcast”, before having any of these articles read aloud to you? What’s more, listening on iPhone, in most cases I find I am forced to listen to the 10 seconds ad TWICE before being able to play the article. So, it’s “press play, listen to the 10 seconds repeating humour of the one and laughter of the other, then press play again, and listed to it all over again”. And one is forced to listen hundreds of times to this 10 seconds annoying advertisement, because Daily Maverick has not provided any “skip” or “move on” facility. After having been forced to listen to the two’s laughter too many times, I have completely lost the appetite of ever listening to Mark Barnes or Business Maverick editor Tim Cohen ever again. And sorry for bringing it up here, but I have written to Daily Maverick many times about it, but they have done nothing about it. Don’t you agree?

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