Protesters in Manila Demand Ceasefire in Gaza and End to Israeli Occupation of Palestine


Manila – Demonstrators from civil society, the Catholic church, and academia gathered in Manila on Saturday to demand an unconditional ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Hundreds of protesters marched from Roxas Boulevard toward the US Embassy, carrying Palestinian flags and banners with messages such as “Ceasefire now,” “We don’t want a graveyard of children in Gaza,” “Stop the genocide,” and “You’re a Filipino, you know what it means to be occupied… don’t be neutral.”

The protest took place during a four-day pause in attacks, as Israel agreed to halt its daily bombardment in exchange for the release of hostages held by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas. However, Filipino protesters argued that a temporary ceasefire was insufficient, expressing concerns that Israel would continue its campaign of bombardment that has resulted in the deaths of at least 14,800 people and the injury of tens of thousands more in the besieged Palestinian enclave over the past 45 days.

“For more than a month now, Israel has waged a brutal war against the Palestinian people living in Gaza. We have seen in real-time the non-stop bombings and air strikes, including that of hospitals and refugee camps, the denial of humanitarian aid and basic services like electricity, water, internet communications, fuel, and even food,” said Renato Reyes, President of BAYAN, a major activist network in the Philippines.

Reyes added, “The genocide is sure to intensify as Israel’s ground invasion steps up, threatening to engulf not only neighboring countries in the Middle East but the entire world.”

The rally drew participants from various sectors, including Catholic priests advocating for a free Palestine. Rory Del Rosario from the Union Theological Seminary stated, “We want a free Palestine like we want a free Philippines.” Wesley Cabansag, also from the seminary, highlighted their belief that Jesus would stand up for the oppressed, saying, “And I know if Jesus Christ were here, he would also take the side of the Palestinian children, the Palestinians.”

Drieza A. Lininding, chairman of the Moro Consensus Group, a co-organizer of the rally, emphasized that the march aimed not only to end Israeli violence, occupation, and apartheid but also to restore respect for international law. Lininding stated that Israel’s consistent and open violations of international law set a dangerous precedent for similar violations to occur worldwide.

Bing Parcon from the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights expressed solidarity with the people of Gaza, stating, “We believe that what is happening now in Gaza can also happen to anyone if people do not unite. And also, of course, we are against the occupation. Free Gaza and the Palestinian people. It’s their land, and it’s their right to be in their land.”

The protest in Manila showcased a unified call for a ceasefire in Gaza, an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the restoration of international law. Demonstrators from diverse backgrounds and organizations voiced their support for the Palestinian cause, highlighting the importance of solidarity and justice in addressing the ongoing conflict.

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