In a powerful display of solidarity for the people of Palestine, several thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Salt River, Cape Town, on Sunday. Organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Salt River Heritage Society, this march joined a global chorus of pro-Palestine rallies over the weekend.
Unity in the Streets
Protesters marched from Albert Road to a sports field outside the Blackpool community hall, where a fervent rally took place. Amidst a sea of placards and flags, the air resonated with passionate chants of “free Palestine” and “stop the genocide, stop the hate.” One striking symbol of Palestinian solidarity was the watermelon, which incorporates the colors of the Palestinian flag.
Demands for Ceasefire and Humanitarian Aid
The demonstrators presented a set of demands that encompassed the immediate closure of the Israeli embassy, an urgent call for a ceasefire, and a plea for humanitarian support for Gaza. Notably, they called for legal actions against South Africans serving in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
Reverend Allan Boesak, a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid movement, addressed the crowd and made a heartfelt plea to the South African government. “Palestinians can do nothing while their children die,” he proclaimed. “Joe Biden cannot go to visit Israel and then say a few words about humanitarian aid and then give more billions to Israel just to keep the war going. That kind of hypocrisy must end now.”
Allan Boesak emphasized the global support for Palestine, highlighting a recent march in London with over 100,000 participants and American Jewish protesters who occupied the US Congress to demand a ceasefire. He suggested that Israeli propaganda might no longer be as effective.
Judy Favish, a member of South African Jews for Free Palestine (SAJFP), underscored the need for the government to move from words to actions. “It is important to signal that there are Jews who believe that the words ‘Never again’ mean never again for anybody. Solidarity with Palestinians is not a Muslim issue; it is a universal issue,” she emphasized.
“Never again” is a phrase that signifies the commitment to preventing events like the Holocaust of World War II, in which six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
Beyond Religious and Cultural Lines
In a separate event on the Sea Point promenade, over 50 individuals gathered for a “Shabbat against genocide.” Mitchel Joffe Hunter of South African Jews for a Free Palestine, which organized the picket, emphasized that the issue in Palestine transcends religious and cultural boundaries. “What’s happening in Palestine is not a religious issue. It’s not a cultural issue. It’s an issue of human rights. It’s an issue of settler colonialism. It’s an issue of dignity and liberation for people,” he said.
The organizers of the Cape Town rally committed to reconvene on October 28 to report on the government’s response to their demands. In recent weeks, Cape Town has seen several marches and demonstrations in support of Palestine, reflecting the growing global movement advocating for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This rally in Cape Town showcases the enduring global support for the people of Palestine and the calls for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and justice. The international response to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be a matter of concern and solidarity across borders.