HOUSTON, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters rallied in the fourth largest U.S. city of Houston on Friday, denouncing the ongoing violence there and calling for peace.
The some 2,000 protesters gathered at an intersection near a popular shopping mall in Houston, drawing many spectators. Many chanted slogans and held placards saying: "Palestinians' lives matter," "Stop Israel's genocide" and "End the occupation, free Palestine."
Across the street, hundreds of pro-Israel protesters waved blue and white Israeli flags and were flanked by a large banner proclaiming: "We fight Islamic terror."
The rallies, which lasted about three hours, went peacefully. A heavy police presence was seen and foot traffic was controlled so as to avoid face-to-face encounters between the two groups.
The demonstrations happened on Quds Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan, a month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide. Quds is the Arabic name of Jerusalem.
Quds Day was initiated by Iran in 1979 to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and oppose Zionism as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem.
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas was reignited on July 8. So far, more than 800 Palestinians and over 30 Israelis have been killed.