|Volume 48 Number 15, May 19, 2018||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Thousands of people joined a vociferous and militant rally in Whitehall opposite Downing Street on May 15. The emergency protest was called the day after the Israeli armed forces killed over 60 protesters at the Gaza border, and injured thousands more. The killings were condemned as a continuing massacre of the Palestinian people, coinciding with the 70-year anniversary of the Nakba.
Organised in under 24 hours, this emergency protest was called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Stop the War Coalition, Olive, and Europal Forum, with the support of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Muslim Association of Britain, and featured numerous speakers, including Lindsey German, Tariq Ali, Owen Jones, Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, Richard Burgon, Chris Williamson, Andy Slaughter, Caroline Lucas, and a number of other MPs, including from Sinn Fein and the SNP, and chaired among others by Ben Jamal from PSC. Speakers also included representatives of the Amos Trust and of trade unions, including Unison, Unite and PCS, Kate Hudson of CND, and Hugh Lanning, Chairman of PSC. A message was read out from Diane Abbott in solidarity with the demonstration.
People of all ages and backgrounds continued streaming into the demonstration, which lasted from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, right till the end.
Speaker after speaker condemned the massacre of unarmed civilians demonstrating for their right of return to their homeland, which is their right as refugees under international law. And speaker after speaker demanded that Israel and its supporters must fully be held to account and that the British government's support for the Netanyahu regime will not go without opposition.
After every speaker, the rally burst into shouts of "Free, free Palestine!" and were joined by the speakers on the platform.
Around 100 gathered in Newcastle on May 16 to protest and demand an end to the siege on Gaza. Hanna Kreitem, originally of Ramallah, condemned the killing of eight children, including an eight-month-old girl who was asphyxiated by tear gas. Hanna, who studies social sciences at Northumbria University, said that Palestinians had faced 70 years of injustice and racism but were still standing. He stressed, "You have a stake in this world so stand up. Stand up for this stake in your world, stand up for justice, stand up for humanity and stand up for Palestine."
The rally was organised by the Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign (NPSC) and was supported by Newcastle Stop the War, Northumbria Friends of Palestine, Durham Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Newcastle Stand up to Trump.
Many hundreds also joined protests in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.