Tens of Thousands in Italy Call for Palestinian State
Published on Sunday, March 10, 2002 by Agence France Presse
Tens of Thousands in Italy Call for Palestinian State
ROME (AFP) — Tens of thousands of people marched in Rome on Saturday to call for the creation of a Palestinian state and express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Demonstrators carry an effigy of Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made up as a butcher, during a protest against Israel's military actions in Palestinian refugee camps, in Rome, Saturday, March 9, 2002. Tens of thousands of demonstrators, most of them young people, marched through the Italian capital on Saturday in a noisy, peaceful show of support for Palestinians in their battle with Israel. Sign say: "Butcher Shop." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The protest — organized by the Democratic Left, the Green party and anti-globalization groups — brought traffic in central Rome to a standstill, as demonstrators marched in intermittent rain.

Organizers said some 50,000 people participated in the three-kilometer march along the Italian capital's main thoroughfares.

The demonstration ended at the Piazza Navona, where speakers called for peace in the Middle East and an end to the bloodshed, a day after the deadliest day in the 17-month conflict, which left more than 50 Palestinians dead.

Many protesters — among them women wearing Islamic headscarves — said they believed Israelis and Palestinians could live together in peace.

Demonstrators said they supported both the security of the state of Israel, and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Police were out in force to maintain order — ahead of a Lazio-AS Roma football match set for today — but no incidents were reported.

© Copyright 2002 Agence France Presse