Massive protests are erupting across capitals in the Middle East and
around the world in condemnation of Israel's deadly bombardment of the
Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Thousands of Palestinians in
Ramallah waved banners and chanted slogans in solidarity with their
fellow Palestinians in Gaza, as Israeli security forces stood on high
alert in the occupied West Bank. Israel placed the West Bank on a
48-hour lockdown, prohibiting movement into the occupied Palestinian
territory except in emergency cases.
In Jordan, police fired
tear gas at several protesters hurling rocks, who with about 1,500
other protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman.
In Egypt, hundreds of riot police were dispatched to two mosques in Cairo to block planned rallies in support of Gaza.
more worshippers marched in Damascus and Tehran following
Friday-morning prayers, shouting slogans of "Death to Israel."
in Indonesia, at least 10,000 people marched through the streets
of Jakarta chanting "God is great" in Arabic outside the U.S. Embassy.
of Afghans held their own protest in Kabul, shouting slogans against
Israel and the United States, and burning the countries' flags.
In Russia, police detained about 37 people for holding an unsanctioned protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Moscow.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a briefing outside the
White House Friday, sharply rebuking Hamas for what she called holding
the people of Gaza "hostage."
Rice says the U.S. is working alongside the Arab League, Europe and Israel to achieve a sustainable cease-fire.
The European Union and France are planning diplomatic missions to the Middle East to try to resolve the deadly conflict.
President Nicolas Sarkozy met Friday with Lebanon's parliament majority
leader Saad Hariri in Paris. Mr. Sarkozy will head to Israel, the West
Bank, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon Monday and Tuesday to push for an end to
His trip will likely coincide with the EU's mission, which will make stops in Israel, the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan next week.
Arab League and the United Nations Security Council held emergency
meetings on the crisis this week. The Security Council rejected an
Arab proposal to pass a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire,
saying more debate was needed on the issue.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.