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  • Published in Stop the war

Thousands came to show solidarity with Gaza on Saturday's march from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington, Lindsey German reports

Video: London 24 November: when thousands demonstrated in solidarity with Gaza.

 

 

Saturday's march from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington was a marvellous display of solidarity with the people of Gaza.

After eight days of brutal bombardment, which left 160 Palestinians dead, around 40 of them children - our commitment to show Gaza that it was not alone was not dampened by the ceasefire called two days ago.

Nor did the incessant and gloomy rain stop the determination of 10-15,000 protesters from marching through London to show the British government that the green light it gave to Israel's assault was not in our name.

The crowd was very diverse, with lots of young people and students and Anonymous masks mixing happily with hijabs and Palestinian scarves.

We chanted, waved banners and placards and were a constantly vibrant presence as we passed through some of the most affluent parts of London to the Israeli embassy gates, where we were greeted by Tony Benn, president of Stop the War Coalition, the first of the speakers to express solidarity with Gaza.

Other speakers included delegates from the Palestinian town of Jenin, the Egyptian novelist Adhaf Soueif, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian, MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Slaughter, speakers from the trade unions, and a representative from the SOAS students who occupied their university in solidarity with Gaza.

Very well received was journalist Seumas Milne, repeating what he wrote in his Guardian column this week, that Palestinians have every right to defend themselves.

Renowned film director and long time supporter of the Palestinian cause, Ken Loach, was one of those not able to be there but who sent a message of solidarity.

The demonstrators were united in their determination not just to protest at this latest outrage by Israel but to call for an end to the siege of Gaza and to see the day -- after 65 years of occupation and brutal repression -- when justice will be achieved for all Palestinians.

The protesters were enthused by the sense that Israel had been forced to curtail its attack -- at least in part -- due to the changed balance of forces in the Middle East since the Arab revolutions, and in particular since the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The distorted media coverage, which has often seemed little more than an adjunct to the Israeli propaganda machine, came in for shouts of disapproval from the crowd -- not least when the BBC was mentioned.

That the motivation for Israel's attack may in part have been motivated by a plan to wage war next year against Iran -- as Britain's chief rabbi Jonathan Sachs revealed inadvertently on BBC radio -- brought roars of anger.

This particular Israeli attack may have ended, but there is no such thing as an Israeli ceasefire where Gaza or the West Bank are concerned.

Our campaign is but another step in the path to freedom for Palestine. Campaigning will go on -- for a boycott of Israeli goods and against any future wars in the Middle East. Stop the War will be at the heart of these campaigns because our anti-war activity has always been driven by an understanding that the issues of war and western imperialism are inextricably linked.

Stop the War would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters who have been so generous in helping us fund our campaign for Gaza this week. We depend entirely for all our anti-war work on the donations of our supporters and members. If you have not contributed but would like to do so now, please donate here.

From Stop the War site.

Lindsey German

Lindsey German

As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.

Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.

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