In reaction to Israeli attacks on Gaza, following a lethal strike by Hamas, the streets of Iraq were filled with thousands of demonstrators on Friday, as reported by national television. These protestors stood in unity with the Palestinians.
The protestors assembled in Tahrir Square, responding to a call to action by Shiite leader, Moqtada Sadr, who urged for a demonstration to show solidarity with Gaza and vocalize opposition against Israel. Shouts of “Down with occupation!” and “Down with America!” echoed around the square, as reported by a journalist from AFP.
A large Israeli flag was laid on the ground and trampled by protestors, no doubt as a symbolic display of their defiant stand against Israel. Palestinian and Iraqi flags were waved in the air proudly by the demonstrators.
The protest aimed to condemn the bloodshed and disregard for rights taking place in occupied Palestine, explained one of the event organizers, Abu Kayan.
A heavy presence of Iraqi security forces was noted in the vicinity of the protest. Additionally, Moqtada Sadr’s movement enforced rigid security measures on site.
While not officially part of the government, Moqtada Sadr, a passionate Shiite cleric, wields considerable political leverage.
The Iraqi government, which supports the Palestinian cause, advocates for the movement expressing solidarity with Gaza.
A war to “annihilate” Hamas was initiated by Israel after Palestinian Islamists breached Israel’s southern boundary, causing over 1,200 civilian casualties in street attacks and home intrusions over the weekend.
In the following days, Israel repeatedly and intensely targeted Hamas bases in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the killing of 1,537 individuals.
In the name of “ensuring their safety,” the Israeli army instructed residents within Gaza City to evacuate within 24 hours and relocate to the southern region of the blockaded area.