‘People in Ireland are not willing to normalise what’s happening’: Thousands march in Dublin against Gaza violence

More than 10,000 in attendance as calls are made for Israel to face consequences for killing civilians during the conflict

Tens of thousands of people attended a march to protest the war in Gaza in Dublin city on Saturday, calling for the end to the conflict.

The march, which began at Garden of Remembrance shortly after 1pm, was to finish at St Stephen’s Green.

Leila Shomali (29), who is originally from Palestine, said she was concerned the world would become desensitised to the war. “I think that’s something that we should not allow to happen because genocide should not be normalised and tolerated,” she said.

Ms Shomali, who is undertaking a PhD in international law and moved to Ireland two years ago, said she has been “distraught” watching what had been happening in Gaza. “It’s my people, and it’s very personal to me. But seeing the type of solidarity that the Irish people have demonstrated towards Palestinians has given me a lot of hope,” she said.


“There’s humanity left and people are ready to act, and people, especially in Ireland, are not willing to normalise what’s happening,” she said.

Irish actor Liam Cunningham said the protests in support of Palestine were not “fizzling out”, but getting bigger. “I’m on the march because our Government is not doing what the Irish people want … We’re sick of the words, we want action,” he said.

The Game of Thrones actor said he was among the majority of Irish people who viewed the actions of Israel in Gaza as genocide.

The length of the crowd of marching protesters stretched from the Garden of Remembrance down past the top of O’Connell Street at one point. One Garda source estimated the size of the crowd was comfortably in excess of 10,000 people.

Another demonstrator, Alice O’Toole, from Crumlin, Dublin, attended the protest with her 10-month-old baby girl, Cora.

“It’s completely indefensible, it’s quite clearly genocide. I think it’s particularly difficult that we are seeing so much of it on social media, the things I’ve seen in the past few weeks I would never have imagined,” she said.

Ms O’Toole said she had been “horrified” to see the amount of violence against children in the war. The Government should have joined South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice against Israel, she said.

Leah Kinsella, from Bray, Co Wicklow, said she had been attending demonstrators in support of Palestine as far back as the 1970s.

The images of the destruction of Gaza were “shocking,” she said. “You would have to have a stone of the heart if you didn’t cry,” she said. “I don’t want genocide to happen on my watch and that’s all there is to it,” she said.

“During the Second World War, we didn’t stand up, we weren’t counted and you saw what happened. Now it’s our turn to say no, this can’t happen on our watch,” she said.

Among the chants from demonstrators were calls for Israel to face consequences for the “genocide” of Palestinians and the killing of civilians in Gaza.

The “national demonstration” was organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and supported by dozens of civil society groups.

Other demonstrations were scheduled to take place across the country in Ennis, Cork, Armagh, Drogheda, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Youghal, Carrick-on-Shannon and Waterford.

Marches were also to take place internationally on Saturday, with a demonstration in London expected to see up to 250,000 in attendance.

International pressure has grown on Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to pull back from an assault on Rafah, the city at the south of the Gaza Strip where more than a million of the territory’s residents now reside.

Mr Netanyahu was scheduled to give a press conference on Israeli television on Saturday night.

Israeli forces made arrests in Gaza’s largest functioning hospital, health officials and the military said on Saturday, as air strikes continued across the territory.

RTÉ meanwhile confirmed it asked musicians not to wear pro-Palestinian clothing and accessories during a performance on its flagship talkshow.

The Irish Women in Harmony group performed a tribute to Sinéad O’Connor on Friday night’s Late Late Show.

However, Irish Artists for Palestine said that, before the performance, a group member was asked to change out of a T-shirt which featured the word Gaza and a love heart, while others were asked to remove badges expressing support for Palestinians.

RTÉ said that contributors are asked not to wear clothing related to “one particular point of view” as part of its impartiality guidelines.

It said that the conflict in Gaza was not the “subject of discussion or debate” during the performance. -Additional reporting by agencies

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Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times