Jakarta – Tens of thousands of people poured onto Jalan Gubernur Suryo in front of the State Grahadi Building in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya on Sunday November 12 to hold a Defend Palestine action and condemn Israeli colonial aggression in the Gaza Strip.
The thousands of protesters, who had been arriving since early morning, wore uniform white clothing and brought campaign materials supporting Palestine, ranging from flags, posters and banners with messages of support for Palestinian liberation.
They also shouted criticisms and insults in unique Surabayan dialect against Israel. "Free, free, Palestine! Israel is a j*nc*k! (shit)", they shrieked.
Action coordinator Dino Imansyah said that the action was joined by tens of thousands of people from various social and religious organisations, high-school and university students, workers and supporters of the Persebaya "Bonek" soccer club that are part of the Surabaya Defend Palestine People's Alliance.
The group hopes that the action can provide moral support to the Palestinian people as well as make the world know that it must urge Israel to halt its military attacks on Gaza.
"Because what's happening is not just an ordinary attack, but there is injustice there. What's being targeted is not soldiers, but hospitals, children and refugee camps", said Imansyah.
East Java Governor Khofifah Indar also joined in mixing with the tens of thousands of people at the action. He invited the crowd to chant Selawat Asyghil prayers together to invoke God's blessing.
Indar also articulated how important independence is for Palestine, saying that prayers and calls for donations for aid must continued to be echoed by the Indonesian people, especially in East Java.
Indar emphasised that the action called by the people of Surabaya and East Java also coincides action in other countries throughout the world. The aim of all of these is to oppose the military aggression being perpetrated by Israel.
"That they are all in motion today to reject Israeli aggression against Palestine. And our action today is a form of support for Palestine. Both institutionally from the central government, the East Java provincial government as well as the entire East Java community", he asserted. (frd/DAL)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Puluhan Ribu Warga Putihkan Surabaya Gelar Aksi Bela Palestina".]