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Thousands-strong protests held in Paris, Brussels to call for end to Gaza massacre

People hold up placards in a demonstration demanding an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli regime's ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, in Paris, France, on November 11, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Thousands have taken to the streets in the capital cities of France and Belgium to call for an end to the Israeli regime's ongoing genocidal war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The demonstrations were held on Saturday, with the participants trying to press their governments to hold Tel Aviv to account for its indiscriminate campaign of bloodletting and destruction against the coastal territory.

More than 11,000 Palestinians, including 4,506 children, have been killed, and 27,490 others sustained injuries since October 7, when the occupying regime started the war in response to an operation staged by the Gaza-based resistance groups.

In Paris, demonstrators demanded that the regime "stop the massacre in Gaza," and urged "an immediate ceasefire."

"We can't stay at home eating and drinking while thousands of children in Gaza are buried. It's unimaginable that in 2023 a government like France won't say stop to this genocide," said Wassila Abdel Malek, a demonstrator.

"I'm demonstrating for the people of Gaza, who are today victims of a real genocide, and I think we need to be demonstrating today because we expect a lot more from our government than what it's doing today," said another protester, who identified himself as Dominique.

"We demand a ceasefire, we demand an end to the occupation. We demand an end to colonization," he added.

"It is elementary that as activists or simple citizens, you [should] go out onto the street to support the Palestinian people," said 85-year-old trade unionist Claude Marill.

Western governments, led by the United States, have stopped short of drawing any red lines for the Israeli regime, which has vowed to wage a "long" war against Gaza. Tel Aviv's allies have also refused to throw their weight behind the United Nations Security Council resolutions that called for a ceasefire.

Gaza ceasefire rallies were also held in other French cities, including Marseille, Toulouse, Rennes and Bordeaux.

"This mobilization is essential in the face of massacres," said LFI coordinator Manuel Bompard said at the demonstration of about 1,300 people in Marseille.

Meanwhile, a pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels, the seat of the European Union, attracted more than 20,000 people, who marched through the city, shouting "free Palestine," "stop the genocide," and 'Israel is a criminal!'

Some also cried out "EU, shame on you," decrying the 27-nation bloc's heavy bias in favor of Israel, which has prevented it from holding Tel Aviv to account for its atrocities.

"It's a genocide, it's not a war like the media are telling us. It's a catastrophe for me, it's not natural but it's inhuman what the Zionist entity is doing. I don't say Israel, I never say the word Israel, because it's not a state. It's an entity, it's a collection of mafias, it's not exactly a state," said a  French activist.

"What shocks us is that we are witnessing live ethnic cleansing, and all the international community can do is, at best, order a ceasefire and, at worst, accompany Israel in this process, which has been described by UN officials as a genocidal enterprise," Gregory Mauze, the spokesperson for the Belgian-Palestinian Association, told the rally.

He added, "So we're really sounding the alarm. Now is the time to sanction Israel and force it to comply with international sanctions."

Anther protester said, "I think what is happening right now in Gaza is beyond devastating and I think it's time for us to speak up about it, because if we let this continue the way it is, there are going to be so many victims that shouldn't be victims right now."

"I want to demand the ceasefire, I want to stop the bombing on the children. I have children with a disability and I think it's important to let our voice be heard. We can't accept people being bombed and being murdered. That's my main issue. I want the world to hear our voice," one demonstrator said.

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