Rafah invasion ‘must not go ahead’: UK Labour leader

Rafah invasion ‘must not go ahead’: UK Labour leader
Rafah invasion ‘must not go ahead’: UK Labour leader

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Bangladeshi students rally in solidarity with global student movement against Israel

DHAKA: Thousands of people protesting Israel’s war on Gaza rallied at one of Bangladesh’s top universities on Monday in solidarity with the student-led protests and occupations sweeping the globe. 

Pro-Palestinian student leaders and activists from different universities marched and carried flags of Bangladesh and Palestine, chanting slogans in solidarity with Gaza as they made their way to Dhaka University, Bangladesh’s largest and oldest tertiary institution. 

Their protest culminated at the symbolic Aparajeyo Bangla sculpture, one of the most well-known landmarks dedicated to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

“Our stance is very clear: We express solidarity in support of a free Palestine state, in favor of a world free from war. And we support the demands made by US students, like divestment from Israel and other organizations that support the Israeli aggression,” Saddam Hussain, president of the organizing student group Bangladesh Students’ League, told Arab News. 

They are also rallying in solidarity with the global student movement, he added. 

“We believe all protests hold the same spirit of the youth, be it on the banks of the Atlantic or here on the bank of River Padma,” he said. 

“The youths around the world have a common dream, and I urge all of them to move forward to make this dream come true. I hope all the youths of the world will join in this protest to build a world free from war, free and guided with humanitarian spirit.”

The Israeli strikes on Gaza that began in October have killed nearly 35,000 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children. The leader of the World Food Program said over the weekend that parts of the Gaza strip were experiencing a “full-blown famine” that was spreading across the besieged enclave. 

Students started to rally or set up tents at various universities around the US last month to protest Israel’s war on Gaza, sparking a global solidarity movement among the youth in India, Australia, France and elsewhere, with many putting pressure on their administrators and governments to cut ties with Tel Aviv. 

While US colleges have seen protests since October, the unrest has escalated in recent weeks after police arrested pro-Palestine demonstrators at an encampment in Columbia University, sparking even more campsites at other campuses, as well as more crackdowns and arrests.

Unlike in the US, students in Dhaka were able to protest peacefully with scant police presence.

“The US and some other big players always speak in favor of freedom of speech. But what we have seen in the university campuses in the US is a shame for world leaders,” Solaiman Khan, a 23-year-old Dhaka University student, told Arab News. 

“It’s a double standard. We, the youth (of Bangladesh), came out to the streets against this sort of hypocrisy from the superpowers of the world.” 

Khan said the violence against Palestinians must be “stopped now and forever.” 

“We have seen enough atrocities done by the Israeli forces. How many more lives must the world lose? Is it not enough?” he said. 

“I think world leaders should come to their senses and act more rationally in stopping the atrocities in Gaza orchestrated by the occupying Israeli forces. Now is the time to play a decisive role. Otherwise, the next generation will not forgive us.”

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