Fury on Streets Against Israel Growing

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million of Turks showed their solidarity with gaza Despite the cold and rainy weather, Ä°stanbulâ??s Ã?aÄ?...
million of Turks showed their solidarity with gaza Despite the cold and rainy weather, Ä°stanbulâ??s Ã?aÄ?layan Square yesterday hosted one million people who gathered to display their solidarity with the Palestinian people after the launch of an Israeli offensive in Gaza. Israel says the eight days of aerial bombardment, followed by a ground invasion late on Saturday, seeks to undermine Hamasâ?? ability to fire rockets at the Jewish state. So far, more than 500 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed. Palestinian and UN officials say at least 100 Palestinian civilians are among the dead. The demonstration at Ã?aÄ?layan Square, titled â??Protest for Solidarity with Palestine,â? was arranged by the Felicity Party (SP). â??Damn Israelâ? was one of the slogans shouted at the demonstration, while many shouted â??Intifada,â? an Arabic word referring to Palestinian uprisings in the past. Protesters carried Turkish and Palestinian flags. Late on Saturday, soon after reports of Israel's ground incursion into Gaza, a group of protesters gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate General in the Levent district of Ä°stanbul. A number of members of Alperen Ocakları, the youth branch of the Grand Unity Party (BBP), carrying Palestinian flags in their hands, tried to enter the consulate building. Some of them were arrested by the police. In a nearby district, a group of protesters closed two lanes of Büyükdere Caddesi to traffic. Shouting "The Palestinian people are not alone!" the group carried posters of Palestinian people who have been killed in the Israeli attacks together with Palestinian flags. In Ankara, a group of demonstrators in a 30-vehicle convoy came in front of the UN mission's building after midnight. The group shouted "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great," while throwing snowballs at the building. The same convoy later headed to the Israeli Embassy, where someone from the group read the Quran aloud. Some of the protesters again threw snowballs at the embassy building, which was being protected by police. Angry protests continued for a second day in Turkey on Saturday, when about 5,000 demonstrators chanted the slogan "killer Israel" in central Ankara. After reports of an Israeli ground incursion, many demonstrations were held yesterday all around Turkey to protest Israel. In Adana, thousands gathered at a meeting which started with the reading of the Quran. As some protestors burned US and Israeli flags, others carried toy babies covered in blood, symbolizing the babies killed in Gaza. "At the moment, while rain falls on the people of Adana, bombs are raining on our Muslim brothers in Gaza. Remaining silent over these attacks is as bad as taking part in them. A Zionist Israel is killing Muslims in Gaza, without making any distinction over whether they are women or children. I harshly condemn Israel with hatred," said Ä°brahim Halil Canpolat, the head of the Furkan Education and Services Foundation, which arranged the meeting. In Antalya, some 300 people, including children and the elderly, protested against Israel. While some shouted "Allahu akbar," others burned Israeli flags. Meanwhile, Rıza Demiralay, a construction worker who has been marching from the central Anatolian province of EskiÅ?ehir to Ä°stanbul to protest Israel's attacks on Gaza, arrived in the northwestern city of Adapazarı yesterday. "This march is a walk of honor against imperialism. It's a walk to protest Israel. Imperialism has been nourished with blood, tears and poverty. We have seen this not only in Palestine, but also in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan," Demiralay said, noting that he will end his march at Taksim Square in Ä°stanbul. Labor unions outraged by Palestinian deaths in Gaza Leaders of Turkey's main labor unions, representing tens of millions of workers, civil servants and their families, have condemned Israel, saying its ongoing operation in Gaza is a "crime against humanity" and calling Israel a "terrorist state." "Israel has clearly gone off the mark by openly declaring that this operation will not end soon. We condemn the killer Israel, which has killed hundreds of innocent people," said Bircan Akyıldız, the head of Turkey's largest civil servants' union, the Turkish Public Workers' Labor Union (Kamu-Sen). "This is a severe crime against humanity and a blow to efforts for peace in the Middle East," said Ergün Atalay, who is in charge of financial affairs for the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-Ä°Å?). The confederation's president, Mustafa Kumlu, called on the United Nations to step in to stop the deadly Israeli offensive. "We urge Israel to respect peace and people's right to life," he told Today's Zaman. "A crime against humanity is being committed in Gaza. We expect the world not to stand by in the face of this tragedy," said Salim Uslu, chairman of the Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-Ä°Å?). Uslu said Palestinians have always been the victims in this conflict, having to face injustice and devastation. "The terrorist state of Israel has shown its true face once again with this offensive," said Mahmut Kaçar, the head of the Civil Servants' Trade Union (Memur-Sen). "The whole world should see the terrorist face of Israel, which slaughters innocents while calling for peace." Ä°sa Yazar Ankara