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Pro-Palestine demonstrators take to CT streets after Gaza killings

The demonstrators are demanding the South African government cut ties with Israel.

Pro-Palestine demonstrators march in Cape Town on 15 May 2018 against the Gaza attacks. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Pro-Palestine demonstrators are venting their anger over the killing of dozens of people in Gaza on Cape Town’s streets.

Palestinians were protesting the relocation of the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the ensuing violence, more than 50 people were killed and hundreds more wounded by the Israeli defence forces.

The demonstrators are demanding the South African government cut ties with Israel.

Government has recalled its ambassador to the Jewish state in protest against the killing of dozens of Palestinians on Monday.

Many are chanting “boycott apartheid Israel” and “downgrade the embassy in Israel,” with Palestinian flags dotting the procession.

A day of national mourning has been declared by Palestinian leaders. The Israeli government has since defended its actions, saying it has a duty to protect its borders.

FUNERALS

Palestinians have rallied in Gaza for the funerals of scores of people killed by Israeli troops a day earlier.

Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.

Israel’s main ally, the United States, has backed Israel’s claim that it acted in self-defence, with both saying that Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the coastal enclave, instigated the violence.

There were fears of further bloodshed on Tuesday as Palestinians planned a further protest to mark the “nakba”, or “catastrophe”.

That is the day Palestinians lament the creation of Israel in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes in violence culminating in war between the newly created Jewish state and its Arab neighbours in 1948.

WATCH: Why the Jerusalem US embassy divides opinion

A six-week campaign of border protests dubbed “The Great March of Return” has revived calls for refugees to have the right of return to their former lands, which now lie inside Israel.

It was unclear whether large crowds would turn up at the border on Tuesday for the climax to the campaign after the heavy fatalities suffered on Monday.

Palestinian medical officials say that 104 Gazans have now died since the start of the protests on 30 March. No Israeli casualties have been reported.

Israeli troops deployed along the border again on Tuesday. The area was relatively quiet early in the day, with many Gazans at the funerals. Protesters are expected to go to the border later.

In Geneva, the UN human rights office condemned what it called the “appalling deadly violence” by Israeli forces and said it was extremely worried about what might happen later.

UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said Israel had a right to defend its borders according to international law, but lethal force must only be used a last resort, and was not justified by Palestinians approaching the Gaza fence.

More than 2 million people are crammed into the narrow Gaza Strip, which is blockaded by Egypt and Israel and suffering a humanitarian crisis.

Number of Palestinians killed along the border of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces since the 'Great March of Return' protest began on 30 March 2018.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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