Thousands take part in protest march to Israeli embassy in Dublin

Speakers at demonstration call for expulsion of Israel’s ambassador and boycott of goods

Thousands of people marched from Dublin city centre to the Israeli Embassy today, to call for "freedom and justice in Palestine".

A Garda at the march, which began at the Spire on O’Connell Street, estimated that up to 10,000 people had taken part.

The demonstration, organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), is the fifth march to take place in recent weeks. Marchers carried Palestinian flags and chanted “free Palestine, free Gaza.”

Former Irish rugby international Trevor Hogan told demonstrators that the lifting of the illegal siege on Gaza "is not a negotiating demand – it's an obligation."

Mr Hogan criticised Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan for not expelling the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai.

“Is an illegal siege, six decades of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, war crimes and the killing of 400 children not exceptional enough for Charlie Flanagan?” he asked.

“Is the murder of nearly 2,000 people not exceptional? Are the embassy’s racist social-media postings and shameless slurring of Irish activists still not exceptional enough for our minister?”

Mr Hogan continued: "The illegal siege suffocating the people of Gaza must be lifted. This is not a negotiating demand, it's an obligation. If Israel continues to deny these basic human rights then the international community must act to lift the siege and bring justice to Gaza."

Mr Hogan praised the town of Kinvara and the Exchequer Bar for boycotting Israeli goods.

He added: “We cannot give up hope. The people of Gaza will never give up hope.”

Socialist TDs Joe Higgins and Ruth Coppinger were among the marchers. Journalist and activist Eamon McCann, TCD academic and Israeli social justice activist Professor Ronit Lentin and Dr Yasser Alashqar, a Palestinian academic, were among those who spoke at the protest.

The demonstration was supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Mandate, Gaza Action Ireland, the TEEU, Academics for Palestine, Irish Anti-War Movement, Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance, Peace and Neutrality Alliance, NUIG Palestine Solidarity Society, Irish Friends of Palestine and Derry Anti-War Coalition and other local groups.

IPSC spokesperson Freda Hughes said that any ceasefire agreement must include an end to “the siege and brutal occupation of Palestine to be just and meaningful.”

Ms Hughes called on people to boycott Israeli goods “until Israel complies fully with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.”

“Boycotting is an extremely effective way for individuals to collectively apply the necessary pressure to isolate Israel for its apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people, blatant disregard for human rights and flagrant abuse of international law,” she said.