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Boyd Barrett calls for boycott of Israeli goods as 1,000 protest in Dublin

Dublin demonstration hears comparisons with Dunnes workers’ refusal to handle goods

Protests for Palestine saw an estimated crowd of 1,000 people march from Dublin’s O’Connell Street to the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge. Photograph: Tim O’Brien

Israel is an apartheid state, just like South Africa once was, but apartheid can be defeated as it was in South Africa, the TD Richard Boyd Barrett told a rally in Dublin on Saturday.

The rally and march to the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge saw an estimated crowd of 1,000 people wave Palestinian flags and posters calling on authorities to “stop the slaughter” in Gaza.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), which deployed stewards in a bid to ensure mask wearing and social distancing, also displayed a number of banners calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.

Speaking at the start of the protest on O’Connell Street, Mr Boyd Barrett referred to the Dunnes Stores strikers who refused to handle South African oranges, a move which led to a ban on imports of South African goods in 1987.

Mr Boyd Barrett said it was up to the Irish people to take similar action against Israel. “The people of Palestine are doing their bit, now we must do the same. There must be self determination for all the people of Palestine,” he said.

‘Ireland shows up’

The chairwoman of IPSC, Fatin Al Tamimi, said “as a Palestinian with close family in Gaza who has been so anxious and worried over the past two weeks, it has given me great strength and hope to see the people of Ireland in cities, towns and even villages all over the land out on the streets to support my people. Ireland always shows up for Palestine.”

However, Ms Tamimi said the ceasefire which had been declared in Gaza “doesn’t mean Israeli violence has ended”.

“Today in Gaza, a battered and besieged people are celebrating an end to a fortnight of violence and terror inflicted upon them by a nuclear-armed, apartheid state. But just because the bombs have stopped raining down on families doesn’t mean that Israel’s violence has ended. Palestinians are under attack every day from the violence of colonial oppression.”

She instanced daily checkpoints, “home demolitions, evictions, illegal settlements, night raids, political prisoners, child prisoners, enforced exile and refugeehood” as some of the violence she said was inflicted on her people.

The protest, which drew a large contingent of gardaí, was part of a global day of action called in response to the recent escalation of anti-Palestinian violence .

A ceasefire on Friday, mediated by Egypt, ended 11 days of hostilities, during which the Israeli military pounded Gaza with air strikes which it said were a response to rockets fired at Israel by Palestinians militants.

Gaza medical officials said 248 people were killed in the Palestinian enclave, and aid officials have expressed concern about the humanitarian situation there.

Health officials said 13 people were killed in Israel in the hostilities, during which the Israeli military said Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups fired about 4,350 rockets, many of which did not reach Israel or were intercepted.