LAHORE, Nov 22: The Awami Workers Party (AWP) on Thursday staged demonstrations in Lahore and several other cities in the country to protest against Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and atrocities against Palestinians.

According to the party, the demonstrations were held in more than 50 cities. The Left-wing activists protested against the continued bombing of Gaza and demanded an immediate stoppage of the aggression.

In Lahore, the demonstration was held in front of the press club and the protesters went to picket the American Consulate, but were stopped by the police. The demonstrators raised slogans and made speeches in front of the consulate.

The Awami Workers Party was formed last week following the merger of three Left-wing parties.

AWP President Abid Hasan Manto condemned Israel for its expansionist policy in the region, and said the recent upsurge in violence in the Gaza Strip should not be viewed as an event in isolation. He said it was linked to Israeli’s imperialist designs under the patronage of the United States.

He criticised the Arab and Pakistani state establishments for, what he alleged, their complicity in the massacre of the Palestinian people.

AWP leader Dr Aasim Sajjad said the Arab rulers and Pakistan military’s cordial relations with the US government were in contrast to their domestic image. He said because of their economic dependence on the US, the international financial institutions and vested business interests, the rulers of Muslim countries could not be relied upon to defend the rights of their people.

AWP Secretary-General Farooq Tariq said the recent popular uprisings in the Middle East and the rebirth of the Left in Pakistan were precursors to the people’s disapproval of the state of affairs in their countries. He said the international movement was seeking an end to Israeli violence in Palestine, and that it should be connected to the overhaul of domestic authoritarian political and economic systems in these countries.

He said the AWP would continue to support popular movements for self-determination and political and economic restructuring that sought an end to capital’s hold over the people.

Prof Jamil Umer said the mobilisation of AWP members was meant to send out a message of solidarity with the people of Palestine and other oppressed communities. He said AWP’s opposition to acts of violence was guided by respect for people’s right to self-determination, without discriminating among them on the basis of religion, caste or ethnicity.

He said the demonstration was an initiative to join the international Left in opposing the Israeli state’s colonisation of Palestine and aggression against its people.


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