Emotions on Gaza run hot in South Florida

Taunts, jeers, vulgar gestures and curse words filled the air Sunday afternoon as supporters of both sides in the Gaza conflict waged dueling protests outside the Israeli consulate in downtown Miami.

The crowd swelled to more than 1,000 people lining both sides of Biscayne Boulevard, brandishing Palestinian and Israeli flags. At times, rocks and mostly full water bottles sailed across the four-lane street.

The chants from supporters of Israel: ''No mas, Hamas'' and ``There is no Palestine.''

From the supporters of the Palestinians: ''Re-free Palestine'' and ``Occupation is a crime.''

From the pro-Israeli side: ''Bomb, bomb Palestine!'' and, from a few, ``Go back to Israel so we can shoot you!''

From the pro-Palestinian side: ``Monkeys and pigs!''

Twelve people were arrested, mostly for misdemeanors but a few on felony charges, said Miami police spokeswoman Kenia Alfonso.

''For the most part, the arrests that were made were for people acting disorderly,'' she said.

The Miami protests, which began at about 1 p.m. and continued for more than three hours, were among many weekend demonstrations around the world, some of which turned violent. In Athens on Sunday, at a rally against the Israeli advance into Gaza, protesters smashed windows and burned American and Israeli flags. Police used stun guns and tear gas to bring the crowd under control.

Thousands in Muslim countries, from Lebanon to Turkey and Morocco, protested the Israeli offensive. Sunday marked the first full day of ground operations as Israeli forces moved to cut Gaza in two.

It followed an eight-day air assault.

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