PROTESTERS were out in force yesterday to condemn Israeli military actions in Gaza and call for peace in the region.

Hundreds of people gathered in Pill for the a peaceful march through the city centre, followed by a rally held in John Frost Square.

By the time the march reached its destination, more than 250 people had joined.

Event organiser Ifthir Ahmed, chairman of the men's group at the Young Muslim Organisation, said they were only expecting between 50 -100 people.

Protesters waved banners and placards, attracting a lot of attention from Newport's Saturday afternoon shoppers, with a few even joining the march as it made its way down Commercial Street.

Mr Ahmed, 28, said: "The purpose was to raise awareness throughout the general public about the atrocities being committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinian refugees and innocent Palestinian civilians."

Once they arrived in the square, speeches were given by Newport East Am John Griffiths and Caerphilly councillor Ray Davies among others.

Jasmine Ahmed, chairwoman of the women's group of YMO, said she was spurred into action after seeing images of a father carrying his dead child the streets of Gaza: "That just took my heart away, I thought I had to stand up for what was happening."

Mrs Ahmed, 27, said she was "very pleased" with how the march went, adding: "We weren't expecting that many, but it just goes to prove that there's a lot of people who feel the way we do, so we were very happy and very thankful to the Newport community for joining us and supporting us."

Hamas announced a one week ceasefire following the unilateral declaration by Israel yesterday that it was ending hostilities.