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Published: Friday June 4, 2010 MYT 2:24:00 PMUpdated: Friday June 4, 2010 MYT 5:30:14 PM
By SIRA HABIBU and STEVEN CHIEW
KUALA LUMPUR: A huge crowd that included Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim protested outside the US embassy along Jalan Tun Razak on Friday burning the Israeli flag and a poster of Israeli Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu over the Israeli raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed nine.
The protest caused a massive traffic jam along the road between 2pm and 4pm.
The protest, organised by 30 NGOs, started after Friday prayers and groups marched from various mosques nearby to the embassy.
Some demonstrators burned the Israeli flag while others waved posters reading "Destroy America, Destroy Israel - Long Live Islam" and "Allah will destroy you Israel".
Anwar wnet into the embassy to deliver a letter signed by leaders of his Pakatan Rakyat alliance as well as the NGOs.
The letter called on US President Barack Obama to condemn the violence against the flotilla and for Israel to end a blockade on Gaza.
"We are appalled and deeply disappointed by your weak and inadequate response on the matter," the letter said.
They also want Obama to push for an international independent inquiry into the fatal attack on the Freedom Flotilla under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council.
They said US had the capacity to take the lead in breaking the deadlock and calling on all parties involved to return to the negotiation table to find ways top resolve the long-standing conflict.
They also called on US not to ignore Hamas in negotiations to resolve the conflict, as it was a democratically elected government in Gaza.
Earlier Friday, Pakatan Rakyat and 35 non-government organisations had a round-table discussion at Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru and called for Israel to be charged at the International Criminal Court for attacking civilians.
Strongly condemning the attack on Freedom Flotilla on international waters, they said Israel must pay full compensation to all the victims.
They also want Israel to return all the goods taken by the armed forces following the Monday morning attack on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.
Among those present were Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa, PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez, and Jamaah Islah Malaysia secretary-general Nahar Md Nor.
“We also demand that the international community force Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza with the help of Egypt,’’ they said in a joint statement.
They also want the international community to recognise the Palestinian struggle as a fight for justice.
“We want Malaysia to play an important role in breaking the Israeli hegemony,’’ they said, adding the country should not be manipulated by forces that had direct and indirect links with Israel.
Another vessel, the Rachel Corrie, which is sponsored by a Malaysian foundation, is set to arrive off Gaza on Saturday with Malaysian and Irish activists aboard.
Israel has said that intends to intercept any ship that sought to breach its blockade of Gaza.
Below is the account of how the protest unfolded:
3.45pm: The crowd is dispersing.
3.15pm: They burn the Israeli flag and a poster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
2.55pm: Crowd breaks through the police cordon about 400m from the embassy entrance and is now at the gates. Heavy traffic jam on Jalan Tun Razak.
2.50pm: Among political leaders spotted there are PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.
2.45pm: Crowd swells to about 5,000 according to police estimates. Jalan Tun Razak is still open to traffic.
2.30pm: About a 1,000 people have already gathered in front of the US Embassy shouting Hancur Israel (Destroy Israel). Heavy police and FRU presence in front of the embassy. However, Jalan Tun Razak is not closed tp traffic.
2.20pm: FRU units with water cannons at the junction of Raja Abdullah and Jalan Sultan Ismail. No untoward incidents.
2.10pm: A group of Muslims leave Masjid Jamek and start heading towards the US embassy via Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang.
KUALA LUMPUR: A number of groups are heading towards the United States Embassy in Jalan Tun Razak on Friday to protest the Israeli raid on an aid ship heading toward blockaded Gaza that resulted in nine deaths.
The groups began heading to the embassy after Friday prayers ended at nearby mosques. They were headed by 30 NGOs, led by Lifeline 4 Gaza.
On Thursday, police had urged them against holding demonstrations in front of the embassy.
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