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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - ‘Their pain is our pain’: Filipinos in Marawi protest in solidarity with Gaza
MANILA: Thousands of Filipinos on Thursday protested in Marawi City in solidarity with Palestinians — and called for an end to the ongoing Israeli bombardment of civilians in Gaza and an investigation into possible war crimes.
At least 3,478 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, when Tel Aviv began the onslaught on the densely populated enclave. This followed an attack on Israel by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas.
The Health Ministry said most of the casualties of the daily strikes had been women and children after bombs targeted residential buildings, schools, and medical facilities. Hundreds of people were killed on Tuesday night when an Israeli missile hit Al-Ahli Al-Arabi Hospital in central Gaza.
In Marawi, the province of Lanao del Sur capital in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, protesters took to the streets holding placards that read “Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Drieza A. Lininding, chairman of the Moro Consensus Group, which co-organized the protest, told Arab News: “Their pain is our pain ... We condemn the recent Israeli strike on Al-Ahli Hospital that killed more than 500 and trapped thousands of Palestinians.
“This kind of attack is the trademark of Israel targeting unarmed civilians, schools, and mosques. The international community should wake up and stop Israel’s genocide campaign against the Palestinians.”
Lininding said that thousands of Marawi residents came to the Grand Solidarity Rally to call for a ceasefire and for humanitarian relief to be sent to Gaza.
Israel said on Wednesday it would allow Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to Gaza, where since the beginning of the attacks it has cut off power, water, food, fuel, and medicine supplies. This intensified an existing blockade of an enclave that is home to 2.3 million people.
Trucks loaded with foreign aid had on Thursday reached Rafah, the crossing between Gaza and Egypt. However, mediations to let them in were unsuccessful after Israeli airstrikes forced the border post to shut down last week.
Lininding said it was important to demonstrate amid widespread pro-Israel disinformation and misinformation in the mainstream media.
“We believe, as Muslims and humans, we have the responsibility to expose the double-standard policies of the West when it comes to Israel,” he said.
Maulana Mamutuk, president of Ranao Charitable Society and a co-organizer of the protest, said it was significant that it took place in a city well acquainted with war.
In 2017, Marawi was destroyed after months of fighting between militants and government forces. Thousands of displaced people are still waiting to return to the city and rebuild their homes.
“We are living testimony how hard, how difficult it is to be displaced. We are evacuees, so we know and we feel how hard leaving your home is ... how hard it is to be distraught, threatened by bullets and bombs,” Mamutuk added.
“Our objective is calling for a ceasefire ... We are calling on all people who can, to do something.”
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