PROTESTERS demonstrated outside the Storting building, which is the seat of the parliament of Norway, in the capital Oslo on May 14, 2022, to mark the 74th anniversary of the Nakba or ‘Catastrophe’, and pay homage to slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was fatally shot by Israeli forces during a raid in the occupied West Bank last week.
Rallies and demonstrations have been held in cities across the United States, Australia and elsewhere in the world to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, which marks the 1948 forced expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in historical Palestine as Israel proclaimed its illegal state.
Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied in many US cities, including New York, Boston, Washington, Montreal and Dearborn, Michigan, on Saturday, to show solidarity with Palestinians and call for an end to Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.
About two thousand people turned out in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn in New York, chanting ‘Free, free Palestine’ and ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’
They waved Palestinian flags and held placards that read ‘End Israeli Apartheid’ and ‘Freedom for Gaza’.
Many protesters wore black and white, and red and white, keffiyeh scarves, while drivers sounded car horns and motorcyclists revved their engines as the sun beat down.
Several Jewish people also attended the rally, carrying placards that read ‘Not in my name’ and ‘Solidarity with Palestine’ as the protesters took over a street in the area.
A few dozen police officers looked on at the peaceful protest, dubbed ‘Defend Palestine’.
‘I’m here because I want a Palestinian life to equal an Israeli life and today it doesn’t,’ 35-year-old Emraan Khan, a corporate strategist from Manhattan, said as he waved a Palestinian flag.
‘Palestinians have the right to live freely and children in Gaza should not be being killed,’ Alison Zambrano, a 20-year-old student, said.
Mashhour Ahmad, a 73-year-old Palestinian who has lived in New York for 50 years, said: ‘I’m telling Mr Biden and his cabinet to stop supporting the killing, support the victims, stop the oppression.
‘The violence committed by the Israeli army recently is genocide,’ he added, raising a poster above his head that said ‘Free Palestine, End the occupation.’
Separately, throngs of people gathered in Copley Square in Boston, while hundreds rallied on the Washington Monument grounds in the US capital.
Thousands of people also gathered in front of Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and marched through central London.
Elsewhere in the Canadian city of Montreal, several thousand people called for ‘the liberation of Palestine’ during a mass demonstration.
The protesters also denounced ‘war crimes’ committed by Israeli troops in Gaza, and carried placards condemning the Tel Aviv regime for violating international law.
Earlier, a caravan of cars sounded their horns and drove with Palestinian flags outside the Israeli consulate in the western part of Montreal.
And thousands of people marched through the streets of the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne in solidarity with the people living in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In Sydney, men, women and children waved flags and placards as they chanted ‘Long live Palestine’.
They also carried pictures of veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot by Israeli troops last Wednesday as she was covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, in central Melbourne, protesters holding Palestinian flags commemorated the Nakba Day.
People also took part in a pro-Palestine rally in the city of Auckland, and paid tribute to Abu Akleh.
Hundreds of people meanwhile demonstrated in the Norwegian capital Oslo outside the parliament building to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Nakba and in protest at the cold-blooded murder of Akleh, the former correspondent of the Qatar-based and Arabic-language Al Jazeera television news network.
Furthermore, the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has called on all Palestinians to mount resistance and confront Israeli occupiers by all available means.
‘Comprehensive resistance is our choice and path to fight the occupiers. The occupying regime has never had any ownership or authority over our lands and sacred sites,’ the movement said in a statement.
‘It is necessary to form a national front that is in line with the aspirations of our nation. Freedom of prisoners is our first priority,’ the statement also read.
- The Lebanese people are voting in key parliamentary elections, which many hope can set the stage for a recovery from economic woes fuelled by United States-led sanctions on the country.
Polling stations opened at 7:00am local time (0400 GMT) across 15 electoral districts on Sunday, with nearly four million people eligible to vote and 718 candidates competing to win 128 parliamentary seats.
The vote comes as the country has been rocked by an economic meltdown that the World Bank has blamed on the ruling class and the 2020 devastating port blast in the capital, Beirut.
Lebanon’s economic crisis, which came to a head in 2019, led to a currency collapse of some 95 per cent and the plunging of more than 80 per cent of the Lebanese population into poverty.
Lebanon’s parliament is equally divided between Christians and Muslims.
The last vote in 2018 saw Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement and its allies – the Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) of President Michel Aoun, and the Shia Amal party of Speaker Nabih Berri – secure a majority by winning 71 of the parliament’s seats.
The absence of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has left a vacuum for Sunni votes, which both Hezbollah allies and opponents are seeking to fill.
Hezbollah has said it expects few changes to the make-up of the current parliament, though its opponents, including the Saudi-aligned Lebanese Forces party, say they are hoping to scoop up seats from the FPM.
The secretary-general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said voters in Lebanon face a choice in these parliamentary elections between a faction whose main concern is Lebanon and one that seeks to please the United States.
And on the eve of the parliamentary elections, Lebanese president Aoun earnestly called on the public to voice their grievances over the country’s economic hardships at the ballot boxes.
‘The ballot box revolution is the cleanest and most honest revolution,’ he said.
‘Revolt against everyone who considers you a mere commodity! Revolt against political blackmail! Revolt against moral decadence and loss of values! Revolt against those who stole your money and deposits! Revolt against those who obstructed every step.
‘It can protect the rest of your rights or expose the thieves! Revolt against those who incite and favour sedition and possibly civil war.’
The economic and financial crisis in Lebanon is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on the country as well as foreign intervention in its domestic affairs.
The final results of the parliamentary elections in Lebanon were expected yesterday, with the new legislature set to elect a new president after Aoun’s term ends in October.