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Monday, December 29, 2008
Paris, Madrid protesters denounce 'terrorist' Israeli attacks on Gaza
PARIS (AFP) - Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to denounce Israel's ""terrorist"" and ""inhuman"" bombardment of the Gaza Strip and call for a rapid end to the conflict.
""What's happening is inhuman. We don't want any more deaths on either side, but the Israeli reaction is disproportionate,"" said one protester, who gave his name as Jamel and said he was an Algerian national living in France.
He was demonstrating along with about 200 others at the foot of the landmark Arc de Triomphe at the top of the chic Champs Elysees avenue.
Across the city in Barbes, an area with a high concentration of north Africans, police said 1,300 others joined an anti-Israel protest at which a U.S. flag was burned.
Souliman Serbout, a 28-year-old dentistry student, traveled from Dunkirk in northern France to join the peaceful protest at the Arc de Triomphe, where he held a banner bearing the slogan ""Gaza -- the New Shoah,"" (the Jewish term for the Holocaust).
""It's clear who's at fault there,"" he said. ""There was a massacre of 300 people (in Gaza) by the Israelis. It has to be stopped immediately.""
""We are all Palestinians,"" was one of the slogans chanted by the crowd, as well as ""Sadists, fascists, racists, it's you (the Israelis) who are the terrorists.""
""Israel terrorist, Sarkozy complicit,"" was another slogan, referring to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, chanted by the crowd.
Many protesters carried Palestinian flags, while a smaller number bore the flag of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.
In Barbes, protester Mondher Sfar said that ""what is happening in Gaza is a crime against humanity.""
Israeli tanks were massed at the Gaza border on Sunday as warplanes again pounded Hamas targets in the densely populated enclave where raids have killed more than 290 people in less than two days.
The assault was unleashed in retaliation for persistent rocket fire by militant groups in Gaza.
Hundreds of people also demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy in Madrid on Sunday.
The demonstrators held up placards reading ""Israel terrorist"", ""Stop state terrorism"" and ""No to the Palestinian holocaust.""
The head of the United Left coalition, Cayo Lara, who attended the rally, said ""Israel's action was unjustified from all points of view.""
Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos on Saturday condemned Israel's ""disproportionate"" response to ""the irresponsible provocation of Hamas.""