A PEACEFUL protest urging an end to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip was held in South Tyneside.
Up to 200 pro-Palestinians gathered outside South Shields Town Hall to demand a stop to the bloodshed.
The death toll from the 10-day battle is estimated at 222, with 1,670 injured.
Members of South Tyneside’s Muslim community organised the protest to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Palestine.
And later a protest petition was delivered to the offices of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck at the town’s Ede House in Westoe Road.
Placards read ‘Victory for Palestine’ and ‘Stop the Child Killers’ as chants of ‘Free, Free Palestine’ were heard outside the Town Hall.
Among the speakers from the Muslim community was Joynul Haque.
He said: “We must do everything we can to end this oppression.
“Write to your MPs, write to David Cameron, write to Barrack Obama, write to the United Nations.
“We need a Palestine where the Jews and Muslims live side by side in peace, as they did for centuries before 1948.”
Fellow speaker Sheila Laskar said: “Think of the four boys who were killed playing near to the beach.
“Just think if anyone of those was your child? How would you feel about that? How lucky we are to be living in the UK.”
Borough poet Joshim Uddin added: “We must stop the killing. Benjamin Yetanyahu (the Israeli prime minister) has no right to kill Palestinians. You are a killer, Mr Yetanyahu!”
Other speakers included Roger Nettleship, of the Unison health branch in South Tyneside, and former borough surgeon Anne Seymour, who supports borough asylum seekers and refugees.
She said: “I worked in Nigeria during the civil war and saw children attacked and killed in the market place and children dying from starvation. The people of South Shields should know that what is happening is not right.”
The protest followed similar demonstrations across the country and came as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged the Israeli government to stop military strikes on the densely-populated Palestinian enclave.
Mr Clegg described Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in retaliation for militant rocket attacks on its territory as a “deliberately disproportionate form of collective punishment”.