Massive Amsterdam march shows support for Palestinians

‘Free Palestine’, ‘Stop the War’ and ‘Stop The Attack on Gaza’, Palestinian supporters shouted

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Thousands marched through the streets of Amsterdam Sunday in a pro-Palestinian demonstration, as Israeli forces prepared to invade the Gaza Strip in response to last week’s unprecedented attack by Hamas.

The protesters turned the central Amsterdam square into a sea of Palestinian flags and placards reading: “Free Palestine”, “Stop the War” and “Stop The Attack on Gaza”, according to AFP reporters at the scene.

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Three planes flew overhead trailing messages “Love Hummus, not Hamas”, “Make falafel, not war” and “Shalom, Salam”, the word “peace” in Hebrew and Arabic respectively.

Similar marches took place over the weekend in major Western capitals, including Washington, London, and Geneva.

James Casey, a 63-year-old retired tourist from Canada, told AFP: “It’s horrible. You know I have no solutions for it... but what I’m feeling is sadness.”

“I do feel support for the Palestinian people... but what has just happened recently is horrific,” he said, referring to the Hamas attacks on Israel that claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people.

“So it’s really mixed you know. I have mixed feelings. Peace is what we would love, a path to peace,” Casey said.

In the eight days since Hamas gunmen unleashed the bloodiest attack in Israel’s history, Israel has responded with a devastating bombing campaign of Gaza that has killed more than 2,300.

Israel has warned 1.1 million Palestinians to leave northern Gaza as it prepares for a ground invasion that aims to destroy the Palestinian militant group.

The route of the Amsterdam march was initially scheduled to end in Amsterdam’s old Jewish quarter. This was changed during the week to avoid potential confrontation.

The beginning of the march passed off peacefully in a light drizzle with a heavy police presence.

On Saturday, tens of thousands rallied across Britain in support of Palestinians in demonstrations that passed off largely peacefully amid a large police presence.

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