EFF to shake up PalestineComment on this story
Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters are going to Palestine, EFF MP Magdalene Moonsamy vowed on Wednesday.
Speaking from the back of a truck outside Parliament's main gates in Cape Town, she told a massed crowd of pro-Palestine demonstrators that her party stood with them.
“We are going to go to Gaza... we pledge solidarity with the people of Gaza,” Moonsamy said.
Earlier, thousands of chanting demonstrators streamed up Plein Street and gathered outside the parliamentary complex.
The huge crowd, which stretched over several city blocks, held aloft scores of banners and posters, calling for an end to the violence in Palestine's Gaza Strip.
“Israel should be wipe (sic) out of the map” and “Netanyahu: Hitler's clone” were among the poster messages displayed.
The march comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that his country was set to “expand and intensify” its campaign against the Palestinian organisation Hamas.
The Jewish state has been conducting air strikes against the Palestinian territory in retaliation for rockets fired out of Gaza into Israel.
Palestinian officials claim at least 200 people have been killed in the air strikes, including children.
“Free, free Palestine!” the protesters chanted outside the parliamentary complex.
Posters held aloft by the crowd proclaimed: “Israel murders children in Gaza” and “Viva Palestine, Viva Hamas”.
A group of men wearing taqiyah skullcaps carried a large Palestinian flag.
Speaking to the crowd, several of whom were wearing the distinctive EFF red beret, Moonsamy also called on government to expel Israel's ambassador to South Africa, and to withdraw its own ambassador from Israel.
Outside Parliament's main gates, a dozen policemen, some in body armour, stood impassively behind a strand of yellow tape.
Close by, a young Muslim boy, dressed in a long robe with a keffiyeh scarf draped round his neck, held up a hand printed poster calling on South Africa to “boycott apartheid Israel”.
Demonstrators packed the intersection of Plein and Roeland streets, and spilled over into the grounds of St Mary's Cathedral, where a life-size statue of Christ on a wooden cross formed a backdrop to a sea of chequered head gear and speakers calling for an end to Zionism.
The march was organised by the Muslim Judicial Council.
A memorandum was later handed over to the chairman of Parliament's international relations portfolio committee, Siphosezwe Masango.
By 1.30pm, demonstrators could be seen moving peacefully away in small groups down Plein Street.