London /PNN/ Report by Roddy Keenan
Over 180,000 people marched through London today in the largest pro-Palestinian demonstration in British history. The march followed a similar demonstration in London last week, which itself had been hailed as an astonishing show of support.
Yet, despite the announcement of a ceasefire and end to Israel’s 11-day bombing campaign on Friday, today’s event attracted an even greater number of demonstrators.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who organized the demonstration, had called for the Israeli regime to be held accountable for their innumerable crimes and for sanctions to be imposed on the apartheid state.
A spokesperson for the march said: “Despite the ceasefire, Palestinians in Gaza still face a 15-year long siege that entraps them and violates all of their human rights. Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to face a brutal military occupation, including restrictions on movement, home demolitions, and the enforcement of military law on the civilian population.
Palestinian citizens of Israel are still subject to over 65 laws that discriminate against them and render them second-class citizens and, Palestinians in exile are still denied their right to return home.
Israel’s system of apartheid and ethnic cleansing cannot continue. We can’t stop just because Israel has temporarily stopped bombing Gaza. We must campaign and protest until the Palestinian people enjoy what is their birthright; freedom, justice, and equality in their historic homeland.”
A significantly large number of those attending were young people, reflecting a growing mood amongst the younger generation that they will no longer accept the continuation of the colonial-settler occupation of Palestine.
From chants of ‘We are thousands, we are millions, we are all Palestinians’, and ‘Palestine will be free, from the River to the Sea’, to music and dancing, the mood was one of resilience and defiance, but undergirded by a clear statement of intent – the Palestinian people will never accept subjugation, oppression, and injustice.
On reaching Hyde Park, where the march ended, those present heard speeches from members of parliament, trade union leaders, and anti-war campaigners, who offered their ongoing support for the Palestinian struggle.
A number of other cities in Britain, such as Manchester, Birmingham, and Bristol, held their own sizable rallies.
Meanwhile, major cities across Europe and around the world also saw mass demonstrations against the brutality of the Israeli occupation and huge expressions of support for the people of Palestine.