Israeli soldiers take positions on the Israel and Gaza border during a Palestinian protest, Saturday, March 30, 2019. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have rallied at points near the Israeli border to mark the first anniversary of weekly protests in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli troops fired tear gas and opened fire at small crowds of activists who approached the perimeter fence. File photo: AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov.

JOHANNESBURG - Nigerians and South Africans joined tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in commemorating the first anniversary of the Great March of Return and Palestinian Land Day on Saturday, the Afro-Palestine Newswire reported.

More than 250 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army over the last year during protests that aim to challenge the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Palestinians are also using the protests at the Gaza-Israel fence to draw attention to their right to return to homes from which they were displaced during Israel’s creation in 1948.

On Saturday, hundreds took to the streets in Iwo (Osun State), in a march organised by Nigerian Friends of Palestine.

“Until freedom is attained we will remain committed to the Palestinian cause,” said spokesperson Daood Imran Molaasan in an interview with the Afro-Palestine Newswire Service.

“Today, we are defending a just cause and we need not be Palestinians or Muslims to do so,” he added.

Other Nigerian rights activists and Muslim scholars have hailed the Palestinians for resisting their occupation by Israel.

“The Palestinian struggle is about the existence of a generation of people who keep fighting, and they must continue to sustain the struggle until justice is achieved,” said Nigerian author and veteran broadcast journalist, Abdur-Razaq Abdus-Salam.

Muslim Awareness International, a Lagos-based human rights group, has commended the Palestinians for their resilience. MAI director, Abdul Waheed Atoyebi, called on the UN Security Council to sanction Israel for violating international law.

Also on Saturday, South Africans gathered at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg for a tree-planting ceremony and protest organised by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance to commemorate Palestinian Land Day and the anniversary of the Great March, the Afro-Palestine Newswire reported.

African News Agency (ANA)