Thousands of Palestinians head to eastern Gaza to join marches of return

GAZA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Palestinians headed Monday to eastern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel to join the mass rallies they called the "Great March of Return."

A general strike dominated all the Gaza Strip, including schools, universities, banks and stores, and main streets seemed empty of traffic and pedestrians.

Pillars of black smoke were seen after tires were burned at crossroads of main streets all over the Gaza Strip to protest the celebration of the U.S. embassy's move to Jerusalem and also to mark Nakba Day or "Day of Catastrophe."

Busses and trucks were collecting people from the main streets, neighborhoods and near the mosques, while loudspeakers of mosques called on the people to join the one million Palestinian marches.

Busses and trucks were mobilizing hundreds of participants to five major areas in eastern Gaza Strip along the border with Israel.

The National Commission for the marches in Gaza called earlier for the largest ever masses of protests and rallies in eastern Gaza Strip. They called Monday the day of "passage."

The commission stressed that the Palestinians "won't retreat back from achieving the Palestinian people's goals of return and defying the siege."

It called on the people to be committed to the announced measures of closing public institutions, universities and daily popular services and heading to the border in eastern Gaza Strip. It also called on the West Bank to clash with the Israeli army forces.

Since March 30, when the marches of return started, the Israeli army has killed 49 Palestinians and wounded more than 8,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry official figures.

[ Editor: zyq ]


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