Thousands take to streets globally to protest U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Muslim and Arab countries across the world on Friday to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.
Demonstrators at the protests, which followed the weekly prayers in mosques, vented their anger at the unilateral decision, which has sparked widespread international criticism. In the Palestinian territories at least one Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli troops.
Trump’s announcement on Wednesday prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash, including warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia over the risks of new violence in the Middle East.
“Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” chanted crowds in Jordan, one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, with an estimated 20,000 people pouring into the streets of Amman and other cities, AFP correspondents said. They carried banners reading “Go to Hell!” directed at Israel and the United States, and set ablaze the two countries’ flags.
Hundreds of demonstrators, circled by anti-riot police, also gathered outside Al-Azhar mosque in the capital of Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state. “We will sacrifice our soul, our blood for you, Al-Aqsa,” they pledged, referring to the mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem that is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians demonstrated in Lebanon and its refugee camps, while similar joint protests were staged in Syria despite the country’s brutal war.
In another war-torn country, thousands of Yemeni rebel supporters rallied in Sanaa under the banner “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”
“This case belongs to all Muslims and no one has the right to sell it out,” Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, a Houthi rebel leader, shouted to the crowd. “Jerusalem is ours and Jerusalem belongs to the Arabs,” hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators chanted in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, where Israeli and American flags were also torched.
“Death to America! Death to Israel!” was the rallying cry as thousands demonstrated in Tehran and other Iranian cities.
Thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters marched after prayers at the Ottoman Fatih mosque in the center of Istanbul. “We consider Jerusalem as the bastion of the Muslim community… We are here to show our unity and our strength,” said protester Doguhan, 17.
In North Africa, thousands demonstrated in central Tunis, calling for the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador, while a small crowd of around 300 gathered in the Libyan capital’s Martyr’s Square to vent their anger at Trump’s decision.
In Asia, thousands of protesters demonstrated outside the American embassy in Malaysia, condemning Trump’s decision as a “slap in the face” for Muslims worldwide. They carried banners that read: “Hands off Jerusalem” and “Down USA President Trump.”
In neighboring Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, several hundred people demonstrated outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, unfurling a large Palestinian flag.
In Afghanistan, more than 1,000 protesters hit the streets after Friday prayers in Kabul. They burned effigies of Trump as well as American and Israeli flags. A few dozen tried to reach the heavily barricaded U.S. embassy, but were pushed back by local security forces.
Around 2,500 demonstrators also protested in the western city of Herat, an AFP correspondent reported.
Hundreds took to the streets in Pakistan, including in the capital Islamabad. The protesters chanted “Death to Trump” and “Trump is mad.”