Hundreds of Venezuelans gathered earlier today in Caracas to protest the Israeli offensive against Gaza. The crowd flooded one of Caracas’ main squares with messages of support for Palestinians, as the death toll in Gaza climbed to over 1600.
According to Venezuelan state news agency AVN, protesters chanted, “Palestine, resist!”
Protester Antonia Hernandez told AVN she hopes that “all the people of Venezuela and all the peoples of the world will join the Palestinian cause”. Rank and file members of Venezuela’s ruling socialist party, the PSUV, also attended.
“Today revolutionary forces once again reject Israel’s attacks on Palestine,” PSUV member Luz Marina Guzman told AVN.
Organizers of the demonstration urged protesters to hand in goods to Venezuela’s foreign ministry, which the government plans to send to Gaza next week.
Venezuela’s foreign ministry opened its doors to donations of humanitarian aid for Gaza on Thursday. Venezuelans have been urged by the ministry to donate food, blankets and medical supplies.
However, foreign ministry officials haven’t explained how the shipment will reach Gazans, who are subject to an Israeli blockade. Israeli forces have blocked shipments of humanitarian aid in the past, including medicine and construction equipment.
For over a decade, Venezuela has been an ardent supporter of Palestine. Former President Hugo Chavez was an outspoken critic of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
“[Venezuela] wants to convey … solidarity at this time to the thousands of men, women, children and elderly people who are being massacred in Gaza by the state of Israel,” Foreign Minister Elías Jaua stated earlier this week.
Compiled and edited from TeleSUR English. For further coverage of the demonstrations, see our photo gallery.