Demonstrators hold symbolic funeral for victims of Gaza siege 2008-01-08 20:17:17   Print

    GAZA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian demonstrators held a symbolic funeral for 60 late patients who died due to an Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip since June 2007.

    Carrying 60 empty coffins with the names of the deceased patients on it, demonstrators walked through the Gaza streets to protest against Israeli siege on Gaza during which the patients including children and youths lost their lives for not being allowed to go outside for medical care.

    Holding the photos of U.S. President George W. Bush, who is about to visit Israel and the Palestinian West Bank on Wednesday, the demonstrators shouted slogans against him. They described Bush as "tyrant" and blamed the Gaza siege on him.

    The rally was organized by the Popular Committee to Break Gaza Siege, a body comprising independent human rights activists and lawmakers.

    The Gaza Strip has been under strict siege since Israel shutdown all crossings in the wake of Hamas violent takeover of the enclave.

    Hamas routed security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after days of infighting in mid June, which was defined by Abbas as a Gaza "coup."

    Since the leash on Gaza was tightened, only vital medicine and food were allowed enter the Strip while an unprecedented restrictions on the patients' movement were also imposed.

    Up to date, the number of the patients who died due to siege has reached 63 after a 50-year-old man passed away on Tuesday.

    Jamal al-Khudari, director of the popular anti-siege committee, said the closure also destroyed the economy in Gaza because the imported goods needed by the Palestinians are stuck at the Israeli ports.

    Most of factories in Gaza have been forced to stop production because the raw materials can't reach the Gaza Strip.

    "The siege indicates a dangerous disaster," al-Khudari said. He called for an interference of an independent side in running the crossing points.

    To illustrate the urgency of reopening the crossings, al-Khudari said that the number of truck loads entering Gaza everyday has plummeted to 70 compared with more than 800 before June.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang
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