Millions of people across Iran and other world countries have rallied on the International Quds Day to show their solidarity with the Palestinians and condemn Israel’s decades-long occupation and atrocities.
In Tehran and other cities and towns, people from all walks of life took to the streets for the annual event which falls on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the rallies in the Iranian capital, the demonstrators renewed their call for the liberation of Palestine from the Israeli occupation as a cause of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
They also strongly denounced US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, saying the liberation of the holy city remains the “top priority of the Muslim world”.
The participants further pledged support for the “path of resistance and intifada”, stressing the need for strong unity among different Palestinian factions to speed up anti-Israel struggles.
The communiqué said the only solution to the Palestinian issue is facilitating the return of displaced Palestinians to their homeland and holding free elections for the nation to decide its destiny.
The demonstrators also condemned the Tel Avive regime’s attempts “to Judaize the occupied territories and destroy Palestine’s national and historical identity,” calling on international and regional institutions to help foil Israel’s “dangerous plot by taking firm and practical measures.”
Similar events are planned in London and Toronto as well as in 800 cities worldwide, which usually see people chanting anti-Israeli slogans and burning the occupying regime’s flags.
Organizers in Toronto said the theme of the rally is to push for “justice, peace and love” and countering Islamophobia and racism as well as opposing the “Zionism and Israeli war crimes”.
Near the Israeli fence separating Gaza from the occupied territories, Palestinians are expected to throng the site which has become the scene of bloodshed in recent weeks.
Israel’s Channel 2 News said the protesters planned to wear clothing made to resemble uniforms worn by prisoners in concentration camps in the Holocaust.
On Thursday, the Israel air force completed a mass exercise simulating a war on Gaza.
The International Quds Day is a legacy of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini, who designated the day in solidarity with the Palestinians.
This year, Quds Day has become a larger rallying cry as it comes after months of mass protests in Gaza which proved Israel’s inability to stop the Palestinians despite widespread use of deadly force against unarmed protesters.
Since late March, over 120 Palestinian protesters have been killed and thousands more wounded by Israeli forces, mainly sharpshooters. The Israeli military has come under intense international criticism for permitting its forces to open fire on unarmed protesters in Gaza.
Tensions have been running high near the Gaza fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.