Hundreds attend Gaza vigil

Gerry MacLochlainn addressing the vigil in support of Gaza in Guildhall Square. On left is Joanne McDaid. (2011MM20)
Gerry MacLochlainn addressing the vigil in support of Gaza in Guildhall Square. On left is Joanne McDaid. (2011MM20)

Around four hundred people attended a vigil in support of the people of Gaza in Derry city centre last night.

The demonstration was organised by Sinn Féin and was assembled in the Diamond before a march down Shipquay Street to a rally at Guildhall Square.

The march was led by a group of children carrying Palestinian flags and adults holding candles.

The rally was chaired by Joanne McDaid who said Derry has always had close links to the people of Gaza.

“It is important in Derry where we have also witnessed massacres that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Palestine and in particular, Gaza,” she said.

An audio clip, recorded in Khan Younis on Monday afternoon, was played to the crowd.

Councillor Paul Fleming visited Khan Younis when he was mayor and former councillor Gerry MacLochlainn has visited the city on a number of occasions.

“We send our greetings to the people of Derry who have gathered in support of Derry tonight. We are currently under attack and our people are being murdered in their cars, in their homes and in their schools. Nowhere is safe for us. Our children are screaming and crying and are fearful they will die at any moment.

“We know that Ireland is one of the few western countries that has been unstinting in its support for our people. We have many things in common.

“Today we are witnessing a genocide in Gaza. We ask you to continue your support and indeed double it. We ask you to tell the world what is happening here,” the message said.

Mr MacLochlainn also addressed the crowd and said he is hoping to travel to Gaza this weekend as part of an aid mission. “Let’s make no mistake about this. This whole episode was begun deliberately by the Israeli state. They launched these attacks. The fact is that Israel will continue to do this as long as the world allows them to do it.

“We in Ireland are in a unique position. We have experienced oppression and occupation. We understand what is happening so therefore we have a responsibility to stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters. They stood by us in the past when we needed them. During the hunger strikes they stood with us and shouted for freedom for our prisoners and we now have to stand in support of the people of Gaza, all of whom are prisoners,” he said.

A further demonstration will be held in Derry assembling at the GPO at 2pm on Saturday.