Waving flags and banners, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched through the streets of Madrid on Sunday to demand an immediate ceasefire in the deadly war between Israel and Hamas.
Cries of “Freedom for Palestine” rang out as the crowd snaked through the closed off streets of the Spanish capital.
Around 35,000 people took part according to the central government’s delegation to Madrid, making it one of the biggest rallies in Spain in support of Palestinians since the attack by Hamas on Israel earlier this month.
Israel unleashed a bombing campaign after Hamas gunmen stormed across the Gaza border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 230 others, according to Israeli officials.
Since the attack, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed — half of them children — by Israel’s relentless retaliatory bombardments.
The protest in Madrid came as Israel’s military late on Friday intensified its air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Nisrin Mashal, a 45-year-old teacher, said she had come to the demonstration because she has family in Gaza as well as in the West Bank.
“I am very worried about my family because I haven’t been able to talk with them in almost two days, it has been two days without receiving any message from them,” she told AFPTV.
Demonstrators held signs that read “Fair peace”, “Flames don’t lie” and “Don’t ignore the Palestinian suffering”. Several people waved Palestinian flags.
“We are sharing from a distance this suffering of the Palestinian people,” said Emilio Gonzalez, a 50-year-old IT consultant.
“We hope that they can achieve their final goal, the one they always wanted, to have a state of their own,” he added.
Among those who took part was acting Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz of hard-left alliance Sumar who said “everyone is crying out for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza”.
“It is a call that is being made from around the world,” she told reporters at the start of the march.
Several thousand pro-Palestinian protesters took part in another march on Sunday in the port city of Valencia in eastern Spain.
Over 5,000 people protested in Athens on Sunday, a day after protests were held in Britain, France, Switzerland as well as New York.