ANGER erupted on the streets of towns and cities across Britain this weekend as record numbers of protesters mobilised to demand a halt to Israel’s murderous attack on the population of Gaza.
Half a million marched in London in the capital’s biggest-ever protest for Palestine yesterday.
And activists occupied and shut down the capital’s Waterloo station demanding an immediate ceasefire, an end to Britain’s arms trade with Israel and Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
In Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Belfast, Leeds, Bradford, Bristol and other centres tens of thousands marched over the two days.
The protesters spoke with one voice—“Ceasefire now!”—directing their message at the Tory government which licenced the sale of weapons from Britain now being used by Israel in the accelerating massacre.
The message was also directed at a Labour leadership stubbornly refusing to support the ceasefire call.
In London, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the rally in Parliament Square:
The world’s nations voted at the United Nations last night in the General Assembly by an overwhelming majority to demand a ceasefire.
It’s not much to ask, a ceasefire, when children are being killed by weapons coming through the rooms of their homes.
It is in eternal stain that the British government abstained on that vote.
Naomi Greenberg of the Black Jewish Alliance said:
Israel is waging a genocide in Gaza using weapons our government sold them.
The slaughter of my family members in the Holocaust was enabled by the same racist dehumanisation which we now see directed against the Palestinians by our own political leaders.
I came here today to demand an immediate ceasefire and end to the blockade of Gaza–all of us must stand against the genocide being carried out in our name and with our tax money.
Palestinian-British national Basma Ghalayini and her husband and two children were among 15,000 who marched in Manchester.
Her father and three brothers are in Gaza and contacted her today.
She told the Morning Star:
We talked about day-to-day stuff, how they were getting their water, that sort of thing.
The thing about Manchester is that there is a strong sense of solidarity. The message was clear—a ceasefire now and an end to the occupation.
There were Jewish friends of Palestine there. They are always a strong presence at demonstrations.
One of my best friends is the head of one of their groups.
It’s good to be heard as a Palestinian. Palestinians are never heard. We are censored in the British media. It is frustrating.
Ms Ghalayini said that things they heard from friends and relatives are “very different” from the mainstream media, adding:
anyone who supports Palestine is marginalised.
I will be out every time there is a demonstration, with my children.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) director Ben Jamal said:
The wave of solidarity has in turn put pressure on our political leaders to shift their stances and start calling for the prevention of further violence and killing.
The only way to stop the further deterioration of the situation is through a ceasefire, enforced and guaranteed by the UN, and we are putting all the resources we can into working towards an immediate ceasefire being called.
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has said he has spoken to his in-laws trapped in Gaza following the telecoms shutdown.
He said he fears for their safety as they have run out of drinking water.
The UN resolution must be implemented. We need the violence to stop, and for significant amounts of aid to get through without delay.
The government is continuing to resist calls for a ceasefire.
Tory minister Michelle Donelan said today that it will be judged at a “later date” whether Israel has complied with international law.
She said Britain continues to “call for a pause” in the violence to allow aid into the region and permit people to leave.
Amid an attempt to criminalise pro-Palestine protest, Ms Donelan also argued that current laws for dealing with extremism are “robust enough” but said the definition is kept under “constant review.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said about 100 people had been arrested at demonstrations held since October 7, with “many more” arrests expected in the near future.
Protests also took place in dozens of towns and cities across the world.
In France, police surrounded hundreds of people in Paris who defied a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations on Saturday and fired tear gas when they tried to march.
Other protests took place in the country’s eastern cities of Marseille and Strasbourg.
In New York, protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge a day after filling Grand Central Station, many wearing black T-shirts saying “Jews say ceasefire now” and “Not in our name.”