Publish date17 May 2024 - 10:22
Story Code : 635590

Pro-Palestinian rallies held in Italy, Croatia

Pro-Palestinian protests were staged in Italy and Croatia’s capitals Thursday as crowds gathered to show solidarity with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.
Pro-Palestinian rallies held in Italy, Croatia

Students at Sapienza University of Rome who had set up tents at the back of the rector's office for a permanent pro-Palestine protest tried to capture the attention of Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who had come to the school to speak on the occasion of Graduate Day, shouting slogans such as "Free Palestine" and lighting smoke bombs.
They had been demonstrating for a while, demanding that their school end cooperation agreements with Israel.
The also protested against Rector Antonella Polimeni on the grounds that she did not meet with them and did not suspend cooperation agreements with Israel.
The students, carrying a banner saying "Italy and Sapienza, accomplices of genocide" and Palestinian flags, waited behind barricades manned by police.
They lit torches and sprayed the police with water guns and called out to Mattarella, saying "Which side are you on?"
The students, who also organized a cortege within the campus to make their voices heard by the president, chanted slogans such as "Police out" when they noticed that a large number of security forces had entered the campus.
They drove the security forces off campus and chased them outside.
When the students went out to the main street from a campus gate, they were blocked by teams of riot police.
There were brief scuffles between the police and the students, but things calmed down as the police withdrew and the students returned to their campus.
President Mattarella attended the program under extensive security measures.
He said he saw a banner asking what he thinks about the developments in Gaza.
''I do not want to leave this unanswered. The state of peace in the Middle East, Israel's right to exist, and the Palestinian people's right to statehood are not only today's problems, but also the international community's problems,'' he said.
He also noted that he had requested an urgent cease-fire in Gaza during his visit last week to the United Nations in New York and called for dialogue.
Meanwhile, dozens of people gathered in front of the Israeli Embassy in the Croatian capital Zagreb to protest Israel's war on Gaza.
Demonstrators chanted "Stop the genocide in Gaza" and unfurled a banner saying "Hands off Rafah.”
They also unfurled Palestinian flags and showed videos of what happened after Israeli attacks in Gaza.
One of the demonstrators displayed a banner with a photo of Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old US Air Force servicemember who in February declared in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. that he refused to “be complicit” in what he deemed acts of genocide by Israel against Palestinians before setting himself on fire and later dying from his injuries.
Israel has continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the besieged enclave.
More than 35,200 Palestinians have since been killed, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and over 79,200 others injured since last October following an attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.
More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.
Israel is accused of “genocide” at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure that its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.
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