GLOBAL MARCHES PROTEST ISRAELI OFFENSIVE
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press August 5, 2006
LONDON - Thousands of people marched in Britain, South Africa and Egypt Saturday to protest
the Israeli offensive in Lebanon, some demanding an immediate halt to the
fighting and others pressing for sanctions against Israel.
Protesters in Cairo demanded that Egyptian authorities let them fight in Lebanon
with Hezbollah militants battling Israeli forces.
Police in London said 20,000 people joined a march past the U.S. Embassy to Parliament. Organizers
— a coalition of peace, Muslim, Palestinian and Lebanese groups — put the turnout at more than 100,000.
"There should be an immediate
cease-fire," said Jeremy Corbyn, a lawmaker from British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party, adding "the government's line is incomprehensibly wrong."
Blair has faced domestic
criticism, particularly from inside his left-leaning party, for not calling for an immediate cease-fire. The United States and France agreed Saturday
on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that
calls for a halt to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, but would
allow Israel to defend itself if attacked.
Veteran peace campaigner
Bianca Jagger, former wife of rocker Mick Jagger, said the British protest was not anti-Israel.
"I support the existence
of Israel and I think we are wrong to
say otherwise," she said. "But watching the images of innocent children dying as we have been for the last 24 days does not
promote a peaceful solution in the region."
Africa, thousands marched through Cape Town to Parliament to demand sanctions
Demonstrators carried pictures
of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Some carried posters declaring, "Israel
the new Nazis."
Protesters urged the South
African government to recall its ambassador from Israel
and sever diplomatic ties, impose trade sanctions, and prosecute South Africans who serve in the Israeli defense force.
More than 2000 people marched
in downtown Cairo, demanding authorities allow them to fight in Lebanon, police said.
The crowd shouted anti-Israel
slogans and vowed to support the guerrillas.
"We will all be resistance
in the Arabs' struggle against Israel!"
they yelled. Some set Israeli and U.S.
flags on fire.
The protest was organized
by Egypt's banned, but tolerated, main
opposition Muslim Brotherhood and the Lawyers Syndicate, the national attorneys' union.
The leader of the Muslim
Brotherhood in Egypt, Mohammed Mahdi Akef
told a local weekly edition newspaper Thursday that his group was prepared to send 10,000 "holy warriors" to help Hezbollah
if the government permits.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said Egypt will not be dragged into the conflict militarily.
about 350 people marched through central Vienna to protest Israel's military campaign.