The front of the national demonstration as it arrived at the Israeli embassy The front of the national demonstration as it arrived at the Israeli embassy. Photo: Lucy Nichols

Unjum Mirza reports on the 250,000 strong ‘Ceasefire Now’ national demonstration in central London

The sound of tens of thousands chanting “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians” could be heard at the heart of London yesterday. Despite the increasing police intimidation and repression over 250,000 protestors marched to the Israeli embassy. It marked the ninth national demonstration against the Israeli genocide in Gaza and now their murderous preparations for a ground offensive on Rafah. 

The demonstrators were part of a co-ordinated global day of action that took place in over 100 cities in 45 countries spanning six continents. ‘The Palestinians are all crammed in the only “safe” place that’s left. It’s plain the world to see what the Israeli’s are planning in Rafahis for a massacre. It is a continuation of the genocide they’ve inflicted on Gaza as a whole’said Paul, a track worker from the RMT. ‘We won’t rest, we can’t rest until we win a ceasefire’. 

‘Of course we’re making a difference’ says Ayesha a NEU teacher. ‘Take a look at the latest YouGov poll which shows ‘The public are more likely to support a ceasefire, and less likely to sympathise with Israel’. Next week, there’ll be a vote in Parliament for a ceasefire and hopefully more MPs will vote for it this time. That’s a result of our pressure. I have no illusions in politicians to do the right thing for us but that must never stop us from doing so’.

Amid the chants ‘Rafah, Rafah don’t you cry; We will never let you die’ stood Will, a doctor who had made his way up from Brighton to join the demonstration and Tamara, a psychotherapist from London. Both trained to save lives and treat people for mental illnesses and emotional stress while ‘Rishi Sunak’s Tory government and the loyalist of loyal‘opposition’, Labour under Kier Starmer supports and sells arms to the Israeli war machine that deliberately targets hospitals’ and ‘inflicts death, destruction and trauma on an entire people’. 

Close by is Mohammed, a retired engineer with his family. ‘What is happening is really soul-destroying and it’s really hard not to despair. But we must keep on fighting for ourselves and our children. I have not missed a demonstration yet. They help renew my spirit and my determination to fight injustice’.

Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition recounted her visit to the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon ‘There I met the survivors of the massacre in 1982 where thousands of Palestinians were killed by the far-right militia acting on the behalf of the Israeli army. I have never forgotten the horror of those stories. And it’s even worse that we are living through these kinds of stories again in Gaza. The people who were pushed out of Palestine through the Nakbha, through the occupations and the refugee camps all over the middle east and now they’re trying to push the people of Gaza out. And make no mistake about this. The Egyptians are building a refugee camp south of the Rafah crossing … Time is running out… we are re-doubling our efforts of solidarity with the people of Gaza, the people of Palestine and demanding an end to the genocide. A ceasefire now! And we demand the right of return of the Palestinians’

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Unjum Mirza

Unjum Mirza is a driver on the London Underground. He is on the Editorial Board of Tunnel Vision, the rank and file bulletin, and is an Aslef union branch chair.

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