South Yorkshire Mayor condemns Hamas “terrorism” and pulling down Israel flags by Sheffield and Rotherham protesters
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The mayor spoke after protesters climbed both town halls yesterday (October 10) and took down the flags of Israel that were flying following the attacks by the militant Palestinian group Hamas on Israeli military targets and settlements. Israel responded to the attacks by placing the whole of Gaza under siege, cutting off supplies, and launching nightly airstrikes.
The death toll in Gaza stands at 950 and at 1,200 in Israel.
Several hundred people joined the protest in Sheffield, with around 200 marching from the rail station to the Town Hall.
Mayor Coppard said: “Often politics is complex. Sometimes it is not.
“The politics of the Middle East are often the most complex of all. But what happened on Saturday in Israel was not complex.
“It was an unforgivable act of terrorism by Hamas, inspired by an antisemitic ideology, targeting innocent people simply going about their lives: families slaughtered, children and pensioners taken captive, young people at a music festival gunned down.
“We do not, we cannot, do anything other than condemn those acts unequivocally.
“The murder of innocent people is considered a crime by people of all faiths and of none. It’s therefore not just right but required for us to show our support for the people who have faced such brutal acts of terror.
“The flag of Israel being pulled down last night in Sheffield and Rotherham does not reflect the values of the region I know. We are a place of compassion, a place that supports and respects our minority communities, and a place where we respect each other.
“Over the coming days I will be working with our faith and community leaders, the Community Security Trust and the police, to both reassure and bring together our communities, and to help us move forward.
“We will do so in solidarity with the people of Israel, and those at risk in Gaza, those grieving, worried for their loved ones, and those scared about what is to come.”