Thousands protest against Israel ahead of WCAR

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- An estimated 30,000 Muslims marched through the streets of Cape Town on Tuesday protesting against Israel's oppression of Palestinians.
It was the first official protest in the build-up to the World Conference Against Racism which begins in Durban on 31 August.
The marchers carried banners which said "Zionism equals racism", one of the hot topics on the agenda of the conference which has angered the United States.
The US has indicated that it wants the conference to focus on how to alleviate discrimination and not revisit issues such as Israel and Zionism.
Washington skipped the two previous UN conferences on racism, in 1978 and 1983, because of a similar Zionism provision.
A large contingent of policemen kept a close watch as the protesters handed over a memorandum to officials from the ruling African National Congress at Parliament.
There were calls for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to be brought before an international court and charged with "war crimes".
Marchers also protested outside Independent Newspapers, the largest newspaper group in South Africa, which they accused of biased reporting.
Meanwhile, thousands of South Africans on Tuesday witnessed the lighting of torches of tolerance at midday around the country to commemorate the World Conference Against Racism.
The torches will burn until the end of the conference as a symbol of South Africa's united commitment to tolerance and diversity.
Religious organisations, businesses and municipalities have been asked to support the Torches for Tolerance campaign.

21 august 2001 16:30:00

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