Rome: Pro- and anti-Israel rallies take place

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 17, 2006 22:48

 
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Hundreds of people, many of them holding Lebanese flags, marched Monday night in Rome to protest the escalation of fighting in the Middle East, while a few blocks away, a rally near the capital's main synagogue was organized to show support for Israel. Shortly after sunset, the marchers set out from near Piazza Venezia and lit candles as they headed toward the Colosseum. Italian communist parties, pacifist groups and other organizations participated in the march. A five-minute stroll away from Piazza Venezia was the gathering point for a rally later Monday night along the Tiber, outside the synagogue, organized by the tiny Jewish community in Italy to show solidarity for Israel. "What we must hope for is that the causes of this conflict are eliminated," Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, told Sky TG24 news in an interview. "The events of these days are very painful, also because they involve civilian populations in a heavy way." He said the gathering was called to rally Italian and European opinion in favor of "guaranteeing the security of Israel."

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