European Union foreign ministers gathering for a council in Brussels were greeted Monday by 4,500 pairs of empty shoes laid out on a city square to memorialize Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the last decade, an epa-efe photojournalist in the Belgian capital reported.

The Palestinian Lives Matter protest was staged by the activist and petition website Avaaz in the Place Jean Rey outside the European Council building and called for a boycott of Israel until Palestinians are granted equal rights.

"The treatment of the Palestinian people has become a stain on the conscience of the world," said the activist network. "It is time for the world to stand up and act, to bring sanctions on key Israeli industries until Palestinians are granted full and equal civil rights. We appeal to you for moral leadership and action to save lives."

Some 800,000 people had given the petition their backing by early Monday.

The demonstration coincided with a foreign minister summit in which the top diplomats of the EU's member nations are expected to address the situation in Gaza, where earlier in the month at least 60 Palestinians were killed and over 2,000 injured when Israeli soldiers opened fire on a protest near the buffer zone with Israel.