PICTURE: Catherine Hutton of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who chaired last night's rally.

Hundreds of people - including leading politicians and trade unionists - took part in a rally at Free Derry Corner last night in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

The rally had been organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and was addressed by representatives of Derry Trades Council, the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Sinn Fein's Council leader Sandra Duffy.

It followed the deaths of 60 Palestinian civilians, including children, and the wounding of hundreds of up to 3,000 others, after the Israeli Defence Forces attacked demonstrators on the Gaza border on Monday.

Mr Eastwood said: "The scenes from Gaza are deplorable and the actions of the Israeli Defence Force against protestors is sickening, yet such actions by the IDF will hardly come as a shock to many.

“It is high time that the West stopped accepting that the slaughter of men, women and children is an inevitable everyday occurrence in the Middle East.

“It would seem that the USA Government have walked off the pitch when it comes to diplomacy in the Middle East. Therefore, it is imperative that the European Union step in and address the diplomatic and humanitarian void to end the bloodshed inflicted upon Gazans.”

Sandra Duffy  has called on Derry's Council to light up its offices on Strand Road, and the Guildhall, in Palestinian colours following the massacre.

She said: "This city has a very proud tradition of standing up for the oppressed, with the age of social media and online newspapers this small act would reach the people of Gaza. And show that we do care and show our solidarity with them.

“The international community cannot continue to stand by and allow this slaughter to continue. Israel should be held to account for its actions and compelled to comply with the numerous international resolutions which it is in breach of.

“It is long past time that the international community took action against Israel for their aggression and flagrant disregard for UN resolutions. The Irish Government should also show leadership by immediately expelling the Israeli ambassador.”

Derry People Before Profit spokesperson, Shaun Harkin, also issued a call for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

He said: "More than 100 Palestinians have been killed since the protests to mark the 'Nakba' began in March. The Nakba refers to the great Palestinian catastrophe when Israeli terror forced 850,000 from their towns and villages in 1948. Since then Palestinians have faced second class citizenship, ethnic cleansing and occupation.

"Israel would be unable to slaughter Palestinians and continue its punishment of Gaza without the political, military and financial support of the US, Britain, the EU and NATO. The Irish government must also be held accountable for its active tolerance of Israeli apartheid. Israel's ambassador in Dublin should be expelled immediately."

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