Mass rally to support Palestinians begins in Istanbul

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    Thousands gathered in Istanbul's Yenikapi fairgrounds on Friday in solidarity with Palestinians after Israeli aggression against civilians at the eastern Gaza border.

    The rally was launched under the theme "Condemning Oppression, Supporting al-Quds [Jerusalem]".

    A number of huge screen televisions were set up for the crowd to watch the platform where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to speak.

    Aside from Erdogan, Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim as well as Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chairman Devlet Bahceli and Grand Unity Party (BBP) Mustafa Destici are among the attendees.

    Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah is also in attendance. Also,

    Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Jordanian King Abdullah II are also present at the rally.

    Some 20,100 police officers on the ground, 5,200 of whom were positioned in hotels and on roadways while another 14,900 are on duty at the Yenikapi fairgrounds.

    Additionally, four police helicopters, four boats and 160 armed vehicles were deployed.

    Separately, Turkey and Palestine flags were distributed to the crowd.

    On Monday, at least 62 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred and hundreds more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the border.

    Monday’s demonstration had coincided with Israel’s 70th anniversary — an event Palestinians refer to as “the Catastrophe” — and the relocation of Washington’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

    Since the Gaza rallies began on March 30, more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred by cross-border Israeli army gunfire.

    Last week, the Israeli government claimed the ongoing border protests constituted a “state of war” in which international humanitarian law does not apply.

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