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Hundreds protest Israeli flag at UN climate talks

More than 200 people protested outside parliament in Rabat against hoisting Israeli flag at COP22 conference
Moroccan security forces stand guard during COP22 international climate conference on Wednesday in Marrakesh (AFP)

Hundreds demonstrated in the Moroccan capital on Wednesday against the Israeli flag being flown beside the colours of 195 other countries at UN climate talks being held in the central city of Marrakesh. 

More than 200 people protested outside parliament in Rabat against Israel's flag being hoisted at the COP22 conference that opened on Monday.

"The Israeli flag at COP22 means Morocco symbolically recognising the State of Israel. It's unacceptable," one protester told AFP.

"Death to America, death to Israel!" demonstrators cried, burning the Israeli flag.

Several pro-Palestinian associations took part in the protest after calling on authorities to take action about the flag earlier this week.

On the first day of the COP22 conference, Moroccan human rights organisations criticised the display of the flag, saying it was “an Israeli presence on Moroccan territory”.

The NGO National Working Group for Palestine said that the flag “opposed to all forms of normalisation [of relations] with Israel under any pretext whatsoever; opposed to the provocation of Moroccans’ feelings and the violation of the nation’s sovereignty and dignity; and opposed to supporting terrorism, criminality and racism.”

Also on Tuesday, Morocco's Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar responded that "UN meetings around the world welcome all nations" and that the fight against climate change "requires all governments to commit".

Morocco supported Palestine gaining observer status at the United Nations in 2012, Mezouar said, and is "the first to defend the Palestinian cause".

He denounced what he called "political exploitation" of the climate talks running to 18 November.