BRUSSELS (AFP) — Cities around the world staged fresh protests Sunday against Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip as the bombing campaign entered its third week, while pro-Israel demonstrators also took to the streets.
One of the biggest rallies took place in Brussels where a march attended by 30,000 people, according to the police, ended in incidents of violence during which a regional politician was slightly injured and windows smashed,
Tens of thousands of students, trade unionists and politicians marched through the centre of Madrid to denounce the Israeli action in Gaza and call for peace.
Several hundred then moved on to the Israeli embassy where stones were thrown and police intervened.
Some members of the crowd wore Palestinian flags to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza, where hundreds, many of them children, have been killed since the Israeli offensive began 16 days ago.
Around 4,000 people marched through the western Austrian town of Bregenz, despite the extremely cold weather, organisers said.
In France the organisation representing Muslim bodies called on "all politicians" to end the "tragedy hitting everyone in Gaza" and invited Muslims to "express their solidarity with dignity."
Demonstrations also took place in at least three Italian cities.
Jewish groups across Europe also held rallies in support of Israel and denouncing Hamas. Thousands of British Jews rallied in central London to call for peace for the citizens of both Israel and Gaza.
Police estimated the crowd at the demonstration in Trafalgar Square at 4,000, but organisers claimed the turnout was closer to 20,000.
Counter-demonstrators lining the side of the square chanted throughout the rally, waving placards reading "We are all Hamas. Boycott Israel", "Israeli terrorist cowards" and "End the siege -- talk to Hamas".
Similar pro-Israeli demonstrations were also held in the German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, with authorities saying altogether 2,000 people took part.
Charlotte Knobloch, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told crowds in Munich that "the sole responsibility of the death of civilians on both sides lay with Hamas."
Police in Marseille, southern France, said around 4,000 people marched through the city in support of Israel's right to self defence. In Prague 200 turned out to back Israel
Outside Europe, pro-Palestinian rallies were also held across Asia and in Africa.
In Algeria alone tens of thousands marched, with 100,000 demonstrators reported in the eastern town of Annaba and 30,000 at Tlemcen in the west.
In Hong Kong, more than 1,000 students and ethnic minorities took part in a protest organised on social networking website Facebook.
The group, holding placards and banners, marched from Victoria Park to the US consulate general demanding the United States stop supporting Israel's offensive on Gaza.
In Indonesia, 20,000 Muslims staged a peaceful rally Sunday in the capital of Jakarta. Protesters from the Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) gathered at the national monument in Jakarta and marched through the streets.
Israel's offensive on Gaza continued Sunday as planes carried out more air strikes, while troops clashed with Hamas fighters despite international calls for a ceasefire as the death toll neared 900.
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