By Gráinne Ní Aodha

DUBLIN - Thousands have marched through the streets of Dublin in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The protest began at the Garden of Remembrance and marched across the River Liffey, with demonstrators chanting: “In our thousands in our millions, we are all Palestinians”; “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, and: “Ceasefire now”.

At the Department of Foreign Affairs building, Iveagh House, the protesters took part in a sit-in.

The demonstration was organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and saw members of People Before Profit, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats, and Sinn Fein take part.

The march comes as 24 Irish citizens and dependants left Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Friday night, while other families with Irish passports landed in Dublin after fleeing the enclave in the days before.

There were emotional scenes as families were reunited, but those who had spent more than a month in the war-torn territory feared for their loved ones they had left behind.

In a statement to the PA news agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a total of 50 Irish citizens and dependants had left Gaza in recent days.

“Only small numbers of citizens or accompanying dependants who have expressed a wish to leave remain in Gaza,” it said.

“The department remains in contact in each case and will continue to work consistently with the relevant authorities to ensure they are able to leave Gaza as soon as possible.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ireland was “working really hard at EU level and UN level to put pressure on” a ceasefire to be implemented.

He said that a ceasefire would have to be adhered to by all sides in the conflict.

“We’re calling for a ceasefire so that the killing can stop, so that hostages can be released, so that we can get humanitarian aid in and then to begin, at some point, talks about peace again.”

He added: “Israel and Palestine came close to peace on at least three occasions in my lifetime. That may seem ridiculous now, but you can never give up hope for peace.

“And I think of leaders like Yitzhak Rabin, people who are willing to sacrifice their own lives in the battle for peace. And it’s that kind of leadership that we need again on both sides.”

 

 

 

 

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