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Riders for the Big Ride for Palestine gather.

Riders for the Big Ride for Palestine gather. Photo: Orlando Hill / shared with permission

The Big Ride for Palestine 2021 arrives tomorrow in Tower Hamlets. Orlando Hill is reporting on the road, noting the upsurge in support for Palestinian liberation

The Big Ride started on Wednesday at the Palestine Museum in Bristol. The museum opened especially for the riders to register and look at the display. After registering riders were offered typical Palestinian food. 

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Riders at the sending off near College Green. Photo: Orlando Hill

On Thursday, the day of the ride, there was a sending off rally near the College Green. Owen, the main organiser, greeted the 200 riders to the 7th consecutive Big Ride. This was a special one since for the last 3 years there hasn’t been a major one with so many riders. 

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Riding in unusually warm weather. Photo: Orlando Hill

This year the main issue was to make it clear that Israel is an apartheid state: “For so long we have been on the defensive. However, now the narrative has changed. It is clear for anyone to see that Israel is an apartheid state.” 

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Families out encouraging the riders on the way. Photo: Orlando Hill

But the Big ride is not only about raising awareness. It is also about raising funds for important projects that benefit children in Palestine. 

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Riders join from all around the country and of different nationality

The 200 riders came from all over the country. They are of a range of nationalities, including Brazilian, Colombian, Italian, French, Mexican, American and Taiwanese – and these are only the ones I spoke to. There are people of all backgrounds and ages taking part in the Big Ride. 

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Palestine flags and watermelon. Photo: Orlando Hill

We snaked through the streets of Bristol shouting Free Palestine and Viva Viva Palestina to the applause of residents. People asked for leaflets, took out their phones to take photos and videos and wished us good luck. Everywhere we went we were well received. People were curious and wanted more information. 

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Reception party in Swindon. Photo: Orlando Hill

At Swindon, we were received by a warm reception rally. Jason Mohammed made a speech where he reminded us of the 77 children who had recently been shot by Israeli forces. A representative of the local PSC asked us to use the word “apartheid” and called for everyone to end the complicity of our government with the Israeli state. The mass demonstrations earlier this year will have no doubt contributed to forcing our government to think again.

The Al Habib Muslim Centre offered us a vegetarian curry with vegan ice cream. A delicious treat for such a wonderful day.

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Orlando joined the Big Ride for Palestine. Photo: Orlando Hill

The Big Ride arrives in Tower Hamlets on Sunday, 1st August. Read about it here.

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Orlando Hill

Orlando Hill

Orlando was born in Brazil and was involved in the successful struggle for democracy in the late 1970s and 80s in that country. He teaches A level Economics. He is a member of the NEU, Counterfire and Stop the War.

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