Thousands demonstrated in Greece’s capital Athens on Wednesday on the Israel-Hamas war — including the country’s first small pro-Israel public gathering since the start of the conflict.
Police said some 10,000 people responded to a call by Communist-affiliated labour unions in solidarity with the Palestinian people, one of several held this month.
The protest was heading for the Israeli embassy, where a group of 100 had earlier gathered in a demonstration organised by the Israel-Greece Friendship Association, an AFP reporter said.
“We call on the entire democratic world to express solidarity, demanding justice for the thousands of innocents who were murdered, but also the immediate release of the hostages held by Hamas,” the organisers had said on Facebook.
Greece’s government was quick to support Israel after Hamas militants killed 1,400 people on October 7 in cross-border attacks.
Greek left-wing parties and media have taken a more pro-Palestinian approach, criticising what they call the long-term “occupation” of Palestine and blaming the EU and US for their support of Israel.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday said Israel had suffered a “savage terrorist attack, the likes of which we have not seen before in the Middle East,” but added that Greece had made a clear distinction between Hamas and the Palestinian people.
“Israel is obligated to respect international law and react within the rules of armed conflict,” Mitsotakis told ANT1 television.
“Revenge does not become organised states,” he said.
The prime minister also expressed “anguish and horror” over a strike on a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds.
Arab countries blamed Israel, which in turn said the hospital was hit by an Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired.