Afghan women chant slogans during a demonstration against the war in Gaza, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Picture: Rahmat Gul

Durban - Several thousand people marched through central Durban in support of Palestinians in the Gaza strip on Friday.

eThekwini metro police spokesman Superintendent Eugene Msomi said the march was peaceful and that he believed that more than five thousand people participated.

The march went started from Durban's Grey Street Mosque following Friday prayers and proceeded to the city centre.

Msomi said eThekwini metro mayor James Nxumalo joined the march.

East Coast Radio reported that several leaders of various religious and civil society groups took part in the march.

Msomi said the march had exacerbated the Friday afternoon rush hour traffic out of the city, but he expected bottlenecks to clear in the early evening.

The African National Congress' provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala told marchers at the Durban City Hall that the ANC condemned “the barbaric bombardment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”.

“The deteriorating human rights situation in Gaza is a matter of growing and grave concern to the whole world. It is a sharp reminder of the apartheid aggression that was eventually defeated by the collective work of South Africans supported by the solidarity of the international community. Freedom and justice cannot be denied forever,” he said.

“It also must be clear that we are not against Israel. We equally have no problem with the Jewish community.

“All we are saying is that the people of Palestine must be free. We also understand the issues of religion but there is absolutely no religion that allows the killing of the people,” he said.