One month after Hamas raid, outrage drives protest, museum display in Czechia

In Prague Tuesday, hundreds of protestors gathered under the banner of 'bringing home' hostages, while an Olomouc musuem displayed missing persons signs. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 08.11.2023 09:29:00 (updated on 08.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Hundreds of Israelis and supporters of Israel gathered in Prague's historic Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening to mark one month since Hamas militants launched a deadly attack on civilian areas in southern Israel.

Approximately 200 to 300 participants, mostly foreigners, carried Israeli flags and distributed leaflets bearing photos of the 240 Israeli citizens still being held hostage in Gaza. About 20 demonstrators sat blindfolded on the ground around the Israeli flags in silent protest.

The rally began around 7 p.m. in the city center square and lasted roughly an hour, according to police who monitored the peaceful event. Notably absent were critics of Israel's retaliation, who have staged their own demonstrations in Prague recently.

"This is not a conflict between Jews and Muslims, as Iran is trying to frame the situation," one participant told the crowd in English. "It is a fight between the State of Israel and a terrorist organization – Hamas."

He called on Czech supporters to write their prime minister thanking him for backing Israel's position.

Another organizer, recalling that about 40 of the 240 Israeli hostages are children, implored "We want our children back." She said the Oct. 7 Hamas attack killed over 1,400 people in southern Israel, mostly civilians.

"We lost 1,400 brothers and sisters who did nothing. Their only fault was that they were born in Israel," said another rally organizer. 

Musuem displays posters of kidnapped Israelis

Meanwhile, in the northern Czech city of Olomouc, the Museum of Art began displaying posters Tuesday featuring portraits of the kidnapped Israelis.

The museum's ground-floor windows were postered with portraits of more than 200 people kidnapped by the radical Palestinian movement Hamas a month ago, joining initiatives worldwide calling for their liberation.

Spokesman Tomáš Kasal told reporters the action was not politically motivated, but rather aimed at defending "civilians who were in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The posters offer glimpses into the lives of the women, men and children before Hamas forces swept them away on Oct. 7. Their names, ages, and pre-captivity photos are identified.

Kasal acknowledged the posters may be torn down by opponents of Israel's policies, as happened with similar displays in Prague. But he said the museum hopes its small act, part of global "Bring Them Home" and "Kidnapped From Israel" campaigns, can help shape public opinion to pressure for the hostages' release.

Visitors and passersby helped install the posters directly on the museum's ground floor windows yesterday with organizers' guidance. The displays will remain up indefinitely.

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