Thousands Protest Israel's Gaza Response [PHOTOS]

Gaza An explosion during an Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip is pictured from the Israeli border with Gaza, early morning July 26, 2014, before a cease-fire takes effect.

Thousands of people protested Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv Saturday night and dozens staged a counter-protest, Haaretz reported.

Between 3,000 to 6,000 people gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv calling for an end to Israel’s operation in Gaza, holding up banners and lighting candles that spell out “Forgive Us” next to pictures of Palestinian and Israeli victims. 

Saturday is the 19th day of Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge,” and the death toll has now surpassed 1,000 Palestinians and 40 Israel Defense Forces members.

Earlier on Saturday Israeli police banned the demonstrations, citing safety concerns. Police said they were concerned that large crowds gathering in open spaces could come under fire from Gaza rockets. However, when Israeli officials decided to extend the half-day cease-fire by four hours, police reversed their decision. Hamas rejected the cease-fire. 

Demonstrators and journalists took to social media on Saturday night to document the protests. A live stream of the protest showed the demonstration’s organizers speaking from a loudspeaker on a stage calling for an end to the war.

Reports from journalists and activists on the ground say those in the counter-protest attempted to infiltrate the anti-war demonstration, but were contained by police.

A demonstrator holds up a sign that says “there is another way” in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Pictures of Palestinian victims are laid out on the ground in Rabin Square as demonstrators hold a candlelit vigil. Activist and human rights worker Elizabeth Turkov posted a photo to Twitter that showed the words “Forgive Us” in Hebrew spelled out in 1043 candles, one for each Palestinian and Israeli victim.

One protestor was photographed holding up a flag that combined both Israel and Palestine’s emblems, calling for a bi-national state.

The Communist Party of Israel was also present at the demonstration. The marched behind a large banner that read “Stop The War. End The Occupation.”

A woman holds up a handwritten sign that said, “Bury the rifles, not the children.”

A woman holds up a hand-written sign that said, “Murdering children is not protection.”

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