Thousands march in London for Gaza and freedom for Palestine
an article by Stop the War Coalition (abridged)
Video: London March in Solidarity with Gaza
On 24 November 2012, 10-15,000 people marched through London from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington, in solidarity with the people of Gaza, who had just endured eight days of bombing by Israel, which killed 160 Palestinians and devastated many areas. Lindsey German, national convenor of Stop the War Coalition, reports.
click on photo to enlarge
Today's demonstration and march from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington was a marvelous display of solidarity with the people of Gaza. After eight days of brutal bombardment, which left 160 Palestinians dead, around 40 of them children -- our commitment to show Gaza that it was not alone was not dampened by the ceasefire called two days ago. Nor did the incessant and gloomy rain stop the determination of 10-15,000 protesters from marching through London to show the British government that the green light it gave to Israel's assault was not in our name.
The crowd was very diverse, with lots of young people and students and Anonymous masks mixing happily with hijabs and Palestinian scarves. We chanted, waved banners and placards and were a constantly vibrant presence as we passed through some of the most affluent parts of London to the Israeli embassy gates, where we were greeted by Tony Benn, president of Stop the War Coalition, the first of the speakers to express solidarity with Gaza.
Other speakers included delegates from the Palestinian town of Jenin, the Egyptian novelist Adhaf Soueif, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian, MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Slaughter, speakers from the trade unions, and a representative from the SOAS students who occupied their university in solidarity with Gaza. Very well received was journalist Seumas Milne, repeating what he wrote in his Guardian column this week, that Palestinians have every right to defend themselves. Renowned film director and long time supporter of the Palestinian cause, Ken Loach, was one of those not able to be there but who sent a message of solidarity.
The demonstrators were united in their determination not just to protest at this latest outrage by Israel but to call for an end to the siege of Gaza and to see the day -- after 65 years of occupation and brutal repression -- when justice will be achieved for all Palestinians. The protesters were enthused by the sense that Israel had been forced to curtail its attack -- at least in part -- due to the changed balance of forces in the Middle East since the Arab revolutions, and in particular since the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
The distorted media coverage, which has often seemed little more than an adjunct to the Israeli propaganda machine, came in for shouts of disapproval from the crowd -- not least when the BBC was mentioned. . .
Our campaign is but another step in the path to freedom for Palestine. Campaigning will go on -- for a boycott of Israeli goods and against any future wars in the Middle East. Stop the War will be at the heart of these campaigns because our anti-war activity has always been driven by an understanding that the issues of war and western imperialism are inextricably linked.
Question(s) related to this article:
How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?,
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Latest reader comment:
Following the peace marches of October 27, 2007, there was no information in the major news media in the United States.
For more on this see the op-ed piece by Jerry Lanson in the Christian Science Monitor.