Tens of thousands of people from around the world, including in Pakistan, took to the streets on Friday in a show of support for Palestinians, with demonstrators condemning the Israeli military’s ongoing bombardment and siege of Gaza following a “surprise” attack by Hamas last week.
From the Middle East to Southeast Asia, demonstrators protested against the Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, where over 1,500 people have been killed, including over 600 children. Israel has defended its brutality by claiming it is necessary after Hamas killed 1,300 Israelis during its assault on Oct. 7. The protesters also demanded a more robust response from their leaderships in support of Palestine, maintaining the world was watching a genocide unfold without taking any steps to halt it.
In Pakistan, hundreds took to the streets across the country after Friday prayers, with larger rallies witnessed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. Demonstrators wielded Palestinian flags and brandished posters calling for Palestine’s freedom. They also burned Israeli flags and urged the government to take urgent steps to secure relief for the besieged residents of Gaza.
The Jamaat-e-Islami hosted the rally in Punjab capital Lahore, comprising men, women and children demanding peace in Palestine. Addressing the gathering, JI Emir Sirajul Haq criticized the U.S. and European countries for supporting Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and demanded Muslim states unite to demand rights for Palestinians. “Raising our voices for Palestinians is the responsibility of Muslims and a part of their faith,” he added.
In Sindh capital Karachi, the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM), the JI, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) staged separate protests demanding an end to the atrocities being faced by the people of Gaza at the hands of Israel.
In KP, rallies were held in the Malakand and Hazara divisions against Israeli atrocities in Gaza, with demonstrators briefly blocking the Karakoram Highway to express their anger. During the demonstration, protesters demanded the U.N. stop the genocide of Palestinians.
Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) gathered in Kohat, Peshawar, Hangu and several other cities of KP to mark “Palestine Solidarity Day.” However, the party claimed its party members were arrested in Lahore and Islamabad when they attempted to stage protests for Palestine. The MWM, however, demonstrated in the federal capital, vowing “no compromise” on Gaza.
Balochistan saw rallies in various cities organized by the JUIF, PTI, PMLN and local political parties. All protesters condemned Israel’s “brutal oppression” and vowed support for the people of Gaza.
Rest of the world
In Indonesia, Islamic leaders called upon mosques worldwide to pray for peace and safety in the Gaza Strip, urging them all to perform a special protection prayer, the Qunut Nazilahto. In Bahrain, Muslims demonstrators chanted “Death to Israel” during Friday prayers, expressing support for the Palestinians’ legitimate struggle. In Iraq, over 500,000 people gathered at Tahrir Square for a peaceful show of solidarity, with some saying action was needed to prevent the ongoing genocide.
In Egypt, the government-controlled Friday sermon briefly supplicated for the Palestinians, focusing primarily on the importance of security. In Makkah, the imam called for God’s support and mercy for Palestinians. The United Arab Emirates, which established diplomatic ties with Israel in 2020, did not even mention Palestinians in its televised Friday sermon.
Lebanon saw mass protests, with people coming from all corners of the country to show their support. Hezbollah supporters in Beirut waved flags, voicing their support for Gaza. Across Iran, demonstrators protested against Israel, burning flags and chanting slogans.
While several Western states have banned pro-Palestine protests, demonstrators still took to the streets in the U.K. and the U.S., demanding an end to the Israeli occupation and the liberation of Palestine.