Anti-Israel Protests in London, Germany and Amsterdam

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Thousands of people attended demonstrations in London, Germany and Amsterdam on Saturday to express their solidarity with the Palestinians and against Israel's ongoing military operations in the West Bank.

In central London, thousands of demonstrators brandishing banners and shouting slogans marched through the city. Some protesters carried posters depicting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon behind bars and comparing him to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

The demonstrators, said by police to number about 15,000 people, marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square where they were addressed by a number of politicians and peace activists.

"This demonstration reflects that right across the religious divide there is widespread support for the Palestinian cause," Michel Massih, chairman of Britain's Palestinian community, said.

Organizer Harris Bokhari called for a boycott of Israeli goods while parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn of the governing Labour Party urged the world to impose an arms embargo on the region and freeze diplomatic relations with Israel.

"We must now say to the rest of the world, no arms, no money, no recognition and no support for Israel," Corbyn told the cheering crowd.

An American and an Israeli flag were set alight towards the end of the demonstration - an action condemned by the organizers, the Muslim Association of Britain.

After several hours the demonstrators dispersed peacefully.

Anti-Israel protest in Amsterdam turns violent An anti-Israel demonstration in Amsterdam's main square turned violent Saturday, as dozens of protesters smashed store windows and battled police.

Police estimated 10,000 people - a huge crowd by Dutch standards for a political demonstration - attended the rally in Dam Square to protest IDF operation against Palestinians in the West Bank.

After a noisy but peaceful start, young people in the crowd began throwing rocks and bottles. Hundreds of police in riot gear and shields, some on horseback, waded into the group on the square, swinging batons to break up the melee.

Small groups rampaged through the busy shopping district off the square, hurling bicycles and stoning shop windows. It was not immediately clear if anyone was hurt, but several ambulances were on standby. Police said 15 demonstrators were detained and taken in vans to a police station.

"This is just the beginning of the war between the Arabs and the Jews," said one man of Moroccan descent. "I would die for my brothers. I'm sick of coming home and seeing my mother crying," he said before storming away from a reporter.

Moments before, the man - who wouldn't give his name - threw a rock at a riot van that was pulling away.

Earlier, thousands of people marched from Dam Square through the center of the Dutch capital and back again to the square, which is the forecourt of the Royal Palace.

As the trouble abated, the square was littered with torn posters and banners, reading "Stop the War," and "Sharon and USA are terrorists," referring to the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The Netherlands has about 800,000 Muslim residents, many of them immigrants from Turkey and more recent arrivals from Morocco.

More than 10,000 protest in Germany More than 10,000 people attended demonstrations in Germany. The biggest gathering was in Frankfurt, where 7,000 protesters marched through the heart of the city, brandishing banners with slogans such as "No more Israeli state terror" and "EU: who stays silent, shares the guilt."

Thousands had attended a rally in support of Israel in Frankfurt last week.

Smaller pro-Palestinian demonstrations took place Saturday in Mainz and in the capital Berlin, where about 3,000 people marched along a route that took them close to the U.S. and British embassies.

While the march was mostly peaceful, a bottle and several other objects were thrown towards the U.S. embassy as protesters chanted slogans including "Death to Israel." Streets anround the embassy have been sealed off since shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

A few stones were thrown at the British embassy by a group of about 20 people who broke away from the marchers, police said, stressing that stewards and police reacted quickly to stop the violence. There was no immediate information on any arrests.



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