Pro-Palestinian protests erupted in the Middle East and beyond on Friday after a former Hamas leader called on supporters to take part in a “day of rage” amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Massive protests broke out in the capital of Iraq, with rallies attracting tens of thousands; Iran; and Yemen, where people gathered carrying Palestinian flags. In Iran, some protesters could be seen burning Israeli and American flags.
In Beirut, Lebanon, supporters of political party and militant group Hezbollah held rallies to support the Palestinians and condemn Israel. Hezbollah leaders vowed to support Hamas, and chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” echoed among at least thousands of people.
In Jordan, riot police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters approaching the West Bank border area, Reuters reported.
Elsewhere, pro-Palestinian protests were held in countries including Japan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Ahead of the protests, former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called for a day of “anger” across the Muslim world on Friday to support the Palestinians and oppose Israeli attacks on Gaza. Meshal also urged neighboring countries to join the fight against Israel.
“Sending a message through the squares and streets, an angry message, that we stand with Palestine, we stand with Gaza, we are part of this fight,” Meshaal said.
Ahead of the expected protests, the Israeli government urged Israelis abroad to be extra careful, fearing calls for action could turn violent.
In France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations because they could disrupt public order, AFP reported. Hungary and Germany have also banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Cities across the U.S. have also stepped up security measures as a result of the protests.
“We are deeply troubled by the hate messages. It’s unacceptable,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday during a briefing on the city’s safety plan. The plan includes increasing police presence in schools and houses of worship, “to Make sure they’re safe.”
The “Day of Rage” occurred nearly a week after Hamas militants launched a brutal and large-scale surprise attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets into southern Israel and ambushing kibbutzim near the Gaza border. In response, Israel declared war and vowed to destroy Hamas.
Israeli authorities said Hamas attacks killed at least 1,300 people in Israel and injured 3,227. In Gaza, Israeli retaliatory attacks have killed at least 1,799 people and injured an estimated 7,388 others, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The Israeli military earlier on Friday ordered an evacuation of northern Gaza, home to 1.1 million people, within 24 hours as the possibility of a ground invasion of Gaza loomed.