Anti-Israel Rally turns Violent in Cairo
Over one million Egyptian protesters in Cairo’s Liberation Square demanded their military rulers to abandon Israel and lift the blockade on the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday. Thousands broke away from the crowd and marched toward the Israeli embassy, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Intense confrontations took place in front of the heavily guarded compound as protesters shouted “Bring down the flag, we don’t want it,” referring to the Israeli flag on top of the Israeli embassy’s building.
Protesters vented their rage at Tel Aviv by burning the Israeli flag and demanding the liberation of Palestine, and promised to stand by Gazans, who have been suffering Israeli’s constant aggression and its four-year long crippling siege, the Press TV correspondent added.
The recent Israeli attacks on the impoverished Gaza Strip since Thursday, which have caused a total of 18 casualties and dozens of injuries, lit the fuse for the massive demonstration.
The protesters also called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in crisis-hit Egypt.
The development comes two months after a historic revolution ousted former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The protesters also demanded the prosecution of Egyptian officials belonging to the former regime — mainly the ousted President Mubarak and his family.
Reports say that military police used tear gas and batons and fired shots to defuse the protest, which marked the biggest demonstration since the ouster of the former president.
Egypt’s toppled regime under Mubarak served the interests of Israel by assisting and keeping silent on the killing of Gazans.
Egypt has imposed a blockade on Gaza since the democratically elected Hamas government took control of the territory in 2007. Since then Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the territory triggering a humanitarian crisis.
A major Egyptian political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, has recently demanded that the country’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces take action in breaking the siege of Gaza.
This is while Israeli officials have been repeatedly threatening to launch a fresh major offensive against Gaza.
They say such an onslaught could be even more destructive and deadly than the one at the turn of 2009, which killed over 1,400 Palestinians — many of them women and children.
Poverty, unemployment, lack of medicine and medical equipment are the main issues in the Gaza Strip, while most Palestinian children are physically stunted from malnutrition.
Human rights groups have also criticized the international community for its silence on the siege on Gaza and the 22-day Israeli war in December 2008 that shattered the stagnant economy of the territory.