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Thousands of Palestinians protest against Gaza siege

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinians take part in a march to mark the 67th anniversary of Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe) in Gaza City on May 16, 2015. (Xinhua photo)

Thousands of Palestinians have staged a protest rally in the besieged Gaza Strip, calling for an end to the nine-year Israeli siege of the coastal enclave.

The rally was organized by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe).

Residents of the Gaza Strip and Hamas officials, including senior leader Ismail Haniyeh, attended the huge rally on Friday.

Every year on May 15, Palestinians all over the world hold demonstrations to remember Nakba Day, which marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israelis in 1948.

More than 760,000 Palestinians - now estimated to number nearly five million with their descendants - were driven out of their homes on May 14, 1948.

Since 1948, the Israeli regime has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, despite United Nations resolutions and international law upholding people’s right to return to their homelands.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

Israel has also waged three wars on Gaza since 2008, including the 2014 offensive which left more than 2,200 Palestinians killed and over 11,100 others injured. The offensive ended on August 26, 2014 with a truce that took effect after indirect negotiations in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

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