Speakers' Corner rally for Gaza

Speakers' Corner rally for Gaza
Participants at Hong Lim Park yesterday showing their solidarity with the people of Gaza, where fighting has killed more than 1,000. Many at yesterday’s event wore red, green, black and white – the colours of the Palestine flag.

More than 300 people gathered at Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park yesterday to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Of different races and nationalities, they came with family and friends. Many wore red, green, black and white - the colours of the Palestine flag - and some had Palestinian scarves around their necks.

The event was organised by From Singapore to Palestine (FS2P), an independent group set up in 2012 to create awareness about the situation in Palestine.

Since the outbreak of hostilities between Palestine and Israel on July 8, the death toll in Gaza has risen to more than 1,000 - comprising mostly civilians, including children.

Yesterday's event began with a minute of silence for the victims, but 20 minutes later, the crowd turned vocal, chanting "Free Palestine" and openly whistling and cheering the nine speakers on.

The speakers included Mr Osman Sulaiman, human resource officer and National Solidarity Party member, blogger Ariffin Sha and former Singapore Democratic Party chairman Jufrie Mahmood.

Mr Jufrie urged the crowd to use social media to raise awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The event received its police permit last Friday. FS2P founder Muhammad Firdaus Marzuki, 26, said the group applied for a permit on July 14. Singaporeans can hold outdoor demonstrations at Speakers' Corner without a police permit if the event does not touch on race and religion or involve foreigners. Otherwise, a permit is required.

Among those present yesterday was sales representative Mohamad Rashid, 28, holding a "Save Gaza" sign. "Once I heard about the event, I started making signs. Hari Raya preparations can wait."

Mr Benjamin Tan, 48, a driver who came with his wife, said: "Being here with so many people shows Singaporeans care. It's not about religion or nationality. All of us want the violence to stop."

This article was first published on July 27 2014.
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