10,000 demonstrate in Amsterdam in support of Palestine

The demonstrators marched to Westerpark. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijzen

Some 10,000 people took part in Sunday afternoon’s demonstration in support of Palestine in Amsterdam, city officials told broadcaster NOS.

The demonstrators, many carrying Palestinian flags, chanted “free Palestine” as they packed onto Dam square in the centre of the city, where they listened to speeches before marching to Westerpark.

Demonstrators had come from all over the country to show their support for the people of Palestine, who have been ordered to leave their homes by the Israeli government following last weekend’s bloody attacks in the south of Israel by Hamas. Over 1,400 Israelis were killed.

Since then, Gaza’s health ministry told the BBC, some 2,450 Palestinians have been killed in bombings by the Israeli army. Israel’s retaliation, such as cutting off water, food and energy supplies, are mass infringing of human rights, the organisers of the demonstration say. 

Amsterdam officials gave the go ahead for the protest on condition the marchers did not carry Hamas or Hezbollah flags or cover their faces, or incite hatred.

One demonstrator was stopped for carrying a flag that looked “too much” like a Hamas flag, but was allowed to continue after a check by an interpreter, local broadcaster AT5 reported.

Three light aircraft flew over the crowd, trailing banners stating “Make falafel not war” and “Love hummus not hamas”. They turned out later to be the work of a group of young Jewish men, whose spokeswoman told the Telegraaf the aim was to bring a little light to dark days.

The slogans show Hamas is the problem, not the Palestinian people, she said.

The demonstration passed off peacefully although riot police were drafted in to disperse a small group of demonstrators who had “come to close” to a counter demonstration by a handful of pro-Israel supporters on nearby Beursplein.

A much larger pro-Israel demonstration took place on the Dam earlier in the week.

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