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24 Jan, 2009 21:11

Schools reopen as Gaza breathes again

Hundreds of children in Gaza have returned to UN schools for the first time since the end of the fighting a week ago.

The schools acted as shelters for many people during the three-week-long offensive.

Forty people died when one of the schools came under fire in early January.

The reopening of the schools is regarded as a sign that life is getting back to normal.

However, shortages of food and medicine mean many Palestinians are struggling to survive.

Israel hasn't fully opened the border crossings to Gaza despite demands from the international community.

The lack of basic supplies and the bombed-out state of the infrastructure is fuelling growing discontent among Palestinians in the area.

Anti-Israel protests in the West Bank have resulted in clashes between demonstrators and police.

Pro-Palestinian rallies in Europe

Meanwhile, in central London thousands took to the streets to rally against Israel's offensive on Gaza and to criticise the British Broadcasting Corporation's decision not to broadcast a charity appeal for Palestinians.

The protesters also demanded that the blockade of the Gaza Strip be lifted.

The rally started in front of a BBC building and then moved through central London to Trafalgar Square.

Some British government ministers criticised BBC for not airing the appeal. BBC said it declined to broadcast the appeal so as not to harm its reputation for impartiality.

Also in Paris, more than 2,000 protesters joined a demonstration organised by several different pro-Palestinian groups and leftwing parties.

Some demonstrators called on the international community to push for the establishment of a Palestinian state and demanded an inquiry on the Israeli offensive.

Earlier mass protests against the Gaza operation took place all around the world.