Demands for Gaza ceasefire made in Dublin, Derry and London as part of international ‘day of action’

Marchers call for Israel to ‘end genocide in Gaza’ as death toll mounts in Palestinian territory

People talking part in the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign march in Dublin. Picture: Cillian Sherlock/PA Wire
People talking part in the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign march in Dublin. PICTURE: CILLIAN SHERLOCK/PA (Cillian Sherlock/PA)

Calls have been made for an end to Israel’s military operations in Gaza during weekend rallies held in Dublin, Derry and London.

Thousands walked through Dublin city centre on Saturday as part of a pro-Palestinian march that began at the city’s Garden of Remembrance and ended at the headquarters of the Republic’s Department of Foreign Affairs close to St Stephen’s Green.

Demands were made for a ceasefire in Gaza, the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, and for the Irish government to support South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that Israel is committing genocide.

Protesters take part in a march organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign on O’Connell Street
A protester at O’Connell Street. PICTURE: BRIAN LAWLESS/PA

The military operation by Israel began in October after Hamas gunmen launched an attack on towns and a music festival close to the border with Gaza, killing around 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages.

Close to 24,000 people have since died in Gaza as a result of Israel’s strikes and ground invasion of the Palestinian territory.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which organised the Dublin rally, said the demonstration was part of an international day of action calling for an end to Israel’s operations.

Spokeswoman Betty Purcell told the PA news agency: “It’s a huge demonstration, it is the biggest one we’ve had so far. We’ve been marching every Saturday.

“We need a ceasefire now but most of all we want to call out the Irish Government for its disgraceful refusal to support the South African case at the ICJ.

“They don’t speak for the Irish people, not by any means.”

IPSC chairwoman Zoe Lawlor said the demonstration was a “total and utter rejection of Israel’s genocide”.

Ms Lawlor said: “We are here today to express our outrage that this has been allowed, that world leaders have enabled, funded and green-lighted genocide and our Government has done absolutely nothing to stop it.”

Veteran civil rights campaigner and former Mid-Ulster MP Bernadette McAliskey told the crowd that “Palestine is the litmus test of our humanity”.

Bernadette McAliskey addressing the demonstration
Bernadette McAliskey addressing the demonstration

She called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other politicians to boycott traditional St Patrick’s Day visits to Washington as she accused US president Joe Biden of “enabling genocide”.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, meanwhile, spoke at a rally in London on Saturday, during which she walked alongside Palestine’s ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot.

She referred to the north’s peace process while calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“To the cynics, the indifferent, the belligerent, who say that this can’t happen, that peace and Palestinian freedom is a dream too far, I say this standing here in London, in common cause with you, having walked our own long journey out of conflict, of building a peace for twenty-five years,” she said.

In Derry’s rally on Saturday, hundreds took part in a march from the Waterside area to Guildhall Square, a route taken during historical civil rights marches in the city.

SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood addressed the demonstration, calling on the Irish government to support South Africa’s ICJ case.

Among those to take part was Derry Girls actress Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, who walked at the front of the march behind a banner stating ‘end genocide in Gaza now’.