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Thousands protest all over world

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 8, 2002

NEW YORK -- Thousands of demonstrators filled a city block near the United Nations on Sunday to support Israel in its military offensive on a weekend that has drawn protesters from both sides to the streets nationwide.

"This is to show support to Israel and to demonstrate against worldwide terrorism," said Lenny Brafman, 46, holding a banner made of U.S. and Israeli flags.

The rally came a day after hundreds of people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall to demonstrate against Israeli actions in the occupied territories.

In Boston, about 3,000 people gathered downtown Sunday for a "Stand with Israel" rally. A day earlier, about 1,000 Palestinian supporters marched past Israel's downtown consulate in Boston.

Also on Sunday, Andrew Cuomo, who is battling for the Democratic nomination for New York governor, asked the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in a letter to rescind Yasser Arafat's 1994 Nobel Peace Prize.

OTHER PROTESTS: Hundreds of demonstrators battled in Paris on Sunday during a march against anti-Semitism, attacking journalists and stabbing a police officer before police dispersed them with tear gas. Violence also was reported at pro-Israeli marches in other French cities.

In Belgium, at least 10,000 marched through the capital of Brussels, burning American flags close to the U.S. embassy and yelling "Sharon-Bush: murderers." About 5,000 people staged a peaceful rally against Israel in Goteborg, Sweden's second-largest city.

Some 350,000 demonstrators marched in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, and smaller protests were held in Indonesia, Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain, where a protester who was hit by a rubber bullet during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy last week died Sunday.

Also Sunday . . .

POPE DECRIES REVENGE: Pope John Paul II on Sunday decried a "thirst for revenge" between Israelis and Palestinians and said he was praying for the clergy trapped inside the Bethlehem church marking Jesus' birthplace.

"When all around the pitiless logic of arms dominates, only God can lead hearts back to thoughts of peace," John Paul said in his traditional weekly appearance from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

SIX GET DEATH FOR HELPING ISRAEL: In a secret session before dawn Sunday, a Palestinian military court in Gaza City sentenced six Palestinians to death Sunday for collaborating with Israel, Palestinian security officials said.

The sentence of one, 15-year-old Abdel Khalim Hamdan of Khan Younis, was commuted to 15 years at hard labor because of his age. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must approve the death sentences before they can be carried out.

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