Hundreds of journalists rallied across Pakistan on Monday to protest Israel’s attacks on media offices in the Gaza Strip.
The journalists held protests in the capital Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and other cities, voicing solidarity with press workers from the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, whose offices were destroyed in a recent Israeli strike on a tower housing media offices in Gaza, as well as Anadolu Agency and others harassed and attacked by the Israeli forces.
In Islamabad, dozens gathered outside the National Press Club to denounce Israel’s attacks on media offices.
Addressing the rally, National Press Club President Shakil Anjum, termed Israel’s attacks a “futile exercise to gag press freedom.”
“We stand alongside our colleagues in Gaza,” Anjum said as he addressed slogan-chanting demonstrators.
Carrying banners and posters decrying Israel’s attacks on media outlets and in support of free media, over 100 journalists gathered outside the Karachi Press Club.
The speakers, including the club’s General Secretary Rizwan Bhatti and President of the Karachi Union of Journalists Rashid Aziz, condemned the Israeli bombing of media offices and injury of several journalists in Gaza.
They slammed the attacks on Anadolu Agency and TRT journalists, with Bhatti saying Israeli forces were targeting Turkish media outlets in particular for showing the truth to the world.
In Lahore, more than 1,000 protesters, including women, children, and civil society groups, gathered at the city’s famous Liberty roundabout to voice their protest against Israeli aggression.
A group of Palestinian students studying at different Pakistani universities also joined the rally.
“I’m here to thank the people of Pakistan for their support. Pakistani people are standing with us like blood brothers,” Ali Hassan, a Palestinian student from the University of Lahore, told Anadolu Agency.
Addressing the rally, speakers condemned the Israeli bombing of civilians and media offices in Gaza, calling on the international community to intervene immediately to halt the ongoing massacre.
TRT Arabi’s Gaza office was targeted by Israeli airstrikes when the reporter was on air on Thursday, injuring several people.
Meanwhile, Turgut Alp Boyraz, Anadolu Agency’s Middle East news editor, was shot twice by Israeli police in two separate incidents while covering recent events in Palestine.
Boyraz, a veteran journalist with eight years of experience with the agency, was shot in the foot with a plastic bullet on May 7 while covering a raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. He was later shot again in the leg with two rubber bullets in another Israeli police raid on the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, eight journalists were assaulted by Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem between May 7 and 10.