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Protests against Israel held in Durban

August 11 2006 at 08:14PM |

About 1500 people marched on the United States (US) Consul General in Durban on Friday in protest against Israel's invasion of Lebanon.

The predominantly Muslim marchers, separated into a group for woman and another for men, carried an assortment of posters that read "Death to Israeli, "Isolate Israel, Sanctions Now" and "Liberate Lebanon Now."

The march was organised by a body calling itself the South African Human Rights Organisation (Sahro).

A heavy contingent of police cordoned off the building housing the US Consul General and a temporary fence was erected around the West Street entrance of the building.

The marchers intended handing a memorandum to US Consul General Eugene Young.

Sheik Walid El Saadi, the chairperson of Sahro, told the crowd that he had been informed that Young "was too afraid to come and accept the memorandum".

Spokesperson for the US Consul general Riley Seber later told Sapa: "We did accept the letter. I spoke to them two days ago and invited them to come today (Friday) and have tea and discuss the issues. They didn't accept, but the offer still stands. We would probably disagree, but we would like to hear what they have to say."

Calls were also made to boycott US products by various speakers including El Saadi, who also heads, an organisation that calls for Muslim control of Jerusalem's holy sites.

After a senior police officer accepted the memorandum the group marched to the Durban City Hall where they handed another memorandum to Durban deputy mayor Logie Naidoo.

In the document Sahro demanded that South Africa withdraw its ambassador to Israel, the imposition of sanctions against Israel, that Israel's ambassador be sent home and that the South African government apply pressure on the US government to stop supplying arms to Israel.

Ziyaad Muhammad, a senior member of Sahro, told Sapa that posters bearing "Death to Israel" messages were not a call to kill Israelis.

"It simply means we are against a two-state solution." - Sapa

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