There has been an outpouring of protest about events in the Middle East. Following the 100 000 strong march in Cape Town, a vigil for the children killed in the Gaza crisis was held at Rhodes University.

The University’s acting vice-chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, expressed his disgust at the killing of Palestinian children at the hands of the Israeli army. Mabizela was speaking at a candlelight vigil held on the university’s Drostdy lawns in solidarity with Palestinians who have lost more than 400 children in Israeli strikes on Gaza.

In a moving ritual, the names of Palestinian children killed in the conflict were written on hundreds of white plaques lining the green turf in front of the university administration block.

Mabizela said the Palestinians were enduring one of the most atrocious attacks ever visited on a people. He condemned the Obama administration of the United States for what he termed its support of the killing of the Palestinian people.

Professor Achille Mbembe from the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research described Gaza as an open prison where millions of Palestinians were incarcerated.

Dr Irene Callis, a Palestinian activist and a visiting lecturer in the Politics and International Studies department at Rhodes said the world had deeply failed the Palestinian children, many of whom had been brutally murdered. The Grahamstown Dean of the Anglican Church, the Very Rev Andrew Hunter, concluded with a moving prayer as the crowd moved through the symbolic grave site.

Report by Jenna Lillie, Carey Moraladi, Paddy Donnelly & Dinah Arnott