Palestinian movement holds vigil in São Paulo
By Maura Silva
Translated by Omid Afzalalghom
It was early evening on Tuesday (15th) when Cinquentenário de Israel Square, in the Higienópolis neighbourhood of São Paulo, began to be lit up by candles lit in honour of the 200-plus people killed in recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
The vigil, organised by the Palestine for All Movement (MOPAT), brought together about 500 people and featured videos, poems and musical interventions about Palestine.
The intention of the movement, apart from to honour the dead, was to draw the public's attention to the Palestinian genocide and, thereby, encourage discussions on violations imposed on this people by the State of Israel.
The event brought together Arabs, Muslims, Jews, religious authorities, social movements and the general population, who, with placards and banners, called for an end to the massacre.
By the same token, several actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people are scheduled to occur in the coming days across the country.
On Saturday (19th) a big protest, with the participation of various social movements, such as the MST and the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), is scheduled to take place in front of the Israeli Consulate, at 2pm.
The attacks on Gaza began nine days ago, in response to the killing of three Israelis. Jewish authorities blamed Hamas, which did not claim responsibility for the deaths.
Days later, the body of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khudair, 17, was found in a forest in Jerusalem. Tests confirmed that he was burned alive. Six Jews were arrested and charged for the crime, which according to police, was motivated by revenge.
Since then, the region of the Gaza Strip has been systematically bombarded by the Israeli military operation, named "Protective Edge".
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), since the beginning of the attacks, 800 tons of bombs - which reached hospitals, schools and residential neighbourhoods - have been launched over the region.
More than 1.8 million people have been affected. Besides the deaths, which have already exceeded 227, there have been 1,685 injured, more than half of them civilians, and 16,000 left homeless. Early on Tuesday (15th), Israel recorded its first death since the beginning of the attacks.
On Wednesday (16th), the Israeli army "warned" more than 100,000 civilians, via SMS and flyers, to abandon their homes.
According to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), warning procedures for Palestinians, which include a roof-knocking warning before firing the actual missile, are enough to prevent the killing of civilians in the region.