Nakba Day saw the biggest wave of protests for Palestine in years, as thousands turned out against the attacks on Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza
London – Shabbir Lakha
The message from London was clear: we stand with Palestine and we will always stand with Palestine.
150,000 people marched through the streets in a massive show of solidarity with the people of Palestine under attack right now.
People of all ages and from all communities turned out in their droves, and neither the threat of rain nor tube closures were a barrier.
The rage was palpable as people shouted with all their might for justice for Palestine. Speakers including Jeremy Corbyn, Zarah Sultana, the general secretaries of Unite and the NEU, and representatives of a multitude of organisations spoke passionately about why we must take a stand.
As Israel intensifies its attacks, the people of Britain will not stand by while our government is complicit. We will be back on the streets for a national demonstration next Saturday.
Newcastle – David McAllister
Newcastle’s protest and rally was astonishing. With 1,500 people gathered at the Monument, it was also the biggest mobilisation for Palestine our city has ever seen.
Jointly hosted by Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Newcastle Stop the War, the rally began with songs from myself and local musician Bethany Elen Coyle. What followed was an array of fantastic speeches from over a dozen speakers, including Lynn Hunter from Newcastle PCS, Pam Wortley from Newcastle StW and local councillor Ann Schofield.
There was also a good number of Muslim speakers who spoke very passionately about the need for unity against apartheid and ethnic cleansing. This included local councillor Shumel Rahman, Palestinian students Nora Samara and Tarneem Hammad, Imam Ali from Fenham Mosque, Dr Zafar Abbas from the Shia community and anti-racist activist Taj Khan.
People’s Assembly chair Laura Pidcock reiterated that Palestinians have the right to return and to live freely. And, in a powerful illustration of the breadth of support we have, National Education Union Vice President Daniel Kebede emphasised the common struggle between educators and Palestinians fighting for a better world.
Newcastle PSC’s Alex Snowdon finished the rally with moving tribute to local socialist veteran Nigel Todd who sadly passed away recently. He was devoted to Palestine and so many other causes for justice and equality.
This was an amazing turnout and passionate atmosphere at an absolutely critical time and could signal a major turning point for our movement after years of attacks on the Palestinian cause.
As StW’s Pam Wortley said, “Our Prime Minister says nothing, but we will cry out!”
Manchester – Lucy Nichols
Thousands joined a demonstration calling for Palestinian liberation in Platt Fields. Despite the torrential rain - to be expected in Manchester - the demonstration, which started off static, marched defiantly up Wilmslow Road. Here the protest split into two, with half going on to Piccadilly Gardens and another half looping back round to Platt Fields.
The march came back to the park and continued with speeches from local activists, including Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as well as speeches - in English and in Arabic - from the Palestinian diaspora in Manchester. Anger at the British state for propping up the Israeli regime was clearly felt. Hours on from the 12pm start, the protest showed no sign of stopping. The people of Manchester clearly demand freedom for Palestine, from the river to the sea.
Brighton – Ellen Graubart
The rally in support of Palestinians under attack in Gaza and the West Bank - called by Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity campaign - was so large that, after some moving speeches and chanting, it morphed spontaneously and by unanimous agreement, into a long and spirited march all the way from the Clocktower in the centre of Brighton, down to and along the seafront, back into town past the Clocktower, and finally ending at the Old Steine, a flat green space surrounded by major roads and very near Brighton Pavillion. Banners and flags were massed together there for a great photo op and more speeches.
Then came a surprise phone call from a Palestinian in Sheikh Jarrah, who at that very moment was being confronted by policeman and a settler outside his own house, threatening to demolish it. In the end that did not happen and the caller was able to thank all of the people in Brighton and around the world for their support. He ended his call with a declaration that the Palestinian people would remain defiant and never stop standing up to Israeli terror.
That one phone call from that one Palestinian in direct confrontation, facing a threat to his home and possibly his life, conveyed in a few short minutes the importance of what we are doing in standing up against the injustice and barbarous terrorism of Israel. So however impotent one may feel in being able to stop the atrocities, showing our solidarity and support is of vital importance to the people of Palestine.
Cardiff – Jan Culley
Undod Cymry gyda Palestina (Welsh for ‘solidarity with Palestine’)
Thousands gathered around the Nye Bevan statue in Central Cardiff to show solidarity with Palestine.
The full-on energy of comrades of all ages filled the streets with shouts of 'Shame on you BBC' and 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!' ringing around, drawing the attention of every bystander.
Protest in support of Palestine is reverberating today in Machynlleth, Abergavenny, Wrexham and Presteigne. There will be protests on Sunday in Swansea and Aberystwyth.
Aberdeen – Fiona Wright
Hundreds gathered in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Marischal Square was filled with around 500 protesters, calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions to be imposed on Israel by the British government.
The crowd was clearly energised by the recent successful action at Kenmure Street in Glasgow, and there was a heightened awareness of the strength of a community standing together.
Speeches reflected on the distorted narrative in the mainstream media and complicity of the UK government in Israel’s persecution of Palestinians; reaffirming the importance of a people’s movement and of solidarity in challenging those in power.
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