Emergency demonstration in support of Palestine held in Whitehall opposite Downing Street!

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Over 4,000, mainly youth turned out to oppose the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people

AN EMERGENCY demonstration in support of Palestine against the Israeli military operation in Rafah was held in Whitehall opposite Downing Street on Tuesday night.

More than 4,000 people attended, chanting: ‘From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free. 1,2,3,4, Occupation No More, 5,6,7,8 Israel is a Terror State. Ceasefire Now!’

Speaking on behalf of the Muslim Council of Britain, Farhan Masilva said: ‘Today the American and British governments are supporting a genocide on Gaza.

‘If Israel enters Rafah today they will be defeated. Fascists and other right wing forces have been defeated throughout history, particularly in the last 100 years.

‘There is blood on the hands of the Israelis, from the tens of thousands of Palestinians that they have murdered, but they have unknowingly stirred a revolution around the world.

‘The US and British are complicit, they have supported them every step of the way, even when they have at some point claimed that they have tried to hold them back.

‘History is on our side, the side of freedom, the side of progress. We will win and they will be defeated. 1,2,3,4, Occupation now more! Victory to Palestine!’

Lindsey German, Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, said: ‘We were told that this day would never happen by the lying Americans and British.

‘It is the brink of the invasion of Rafah. The Palestinians wanted a ceasefire and Hamas agreed to it. But Netanyahu and the Israelis refused it.

‘Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, in fact the whole leadership of the Tory Party and the Labour Party, are key allies of the Israelis.

‘We can’t walk away, we must protest, demonstrate and fight against the government and the rotten leadership of the Labour Party. They should not believe that people will forget in six months and it is a passing fad.

‘The people will never forget. It will hurt them in a general election, but we want more than that, that is why I pay tribute to all student occupations around the world.

‘The worldwide movement will change the whole political agenda. Victory to Palestine!’

Beth Windsor, Cannon Valley MP, said: ‘There must be a political solution. That is what was called for and agreed yesterday by Hamas and the Palestinians. But Israel had no intention of signing.

‘We have seen over 200 days of murder, displacement, and genocide. Now we see the invasion of Rafah, the Israelis must be stopped.

‘There is a human made famine and Israel is now carrying out a massacre. We need divestment from Israel. I call on governments internationally to put sanctions on Israel, including the British, although I’m not confident they will ever go for that.

‘I will do all I can in Parliament to pressure the rightwing to stop their support, and not only that, but stop all support for Israel. But we must go further, we must give more aid to Palestine.’

Jeremy Corbyn, Islington North MP, said: ‘One million people have basically been kettled into Rafah, while Israel prepares its next bombardment. 34,000 Palestinians killed, over 20,000 of them women and children, 11,000 children alone.

‘I wish to thank South Africa and the South African government for going to the International Court of Justice and bringing its case which details the crimes of Israel.

‘Food is being destroyed, medicines destroyed, hospitals destroyed, schools and universities destroyed.

‘And away from Palestine even, the pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been attacked, both in the right-wing rhetoric of Tory politicians like Braverman and also physically, as they have done with the occupations in the United States. I salute them and send my solidarity. That student movement is spreading around the world as part of a wider movement.

‘The arms sales must be stopped. Sanctions must be put in place on Israel. The demonstrations will not stop now. I know they will carry on. I know the power of people. The end is that we must have peace and freedom for Palestine, because their peace and freedom is the peace and freedom of the whole of humanity.

‘Once again I want to reiterate my support for the student movement, particularly the one at SOAS which started yesterday and I have visited. The young people are vital, they give the movement energy and I have no doubt the movement will win.’

Haya Adam, leader of the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) Palestine encampment, which was set up this week, said: ‘Once more, Rafah is being invaded by the Zionist entity. The plan is to displace Palestinians into Egypt. The Palestinians are remaining in their homeland.

‘We have a responsibility to hold institutions accountable. There are student encampments in many countries, eg US, France Italy, Mexico, UK. SOAS launched an encampment yesterday.

‘SOAS markets itself as de-colonialist but it is not so. We get suspended. Their decolonisation is theoretical, rather than active.

‘We demand they cut ties with Haifa university in Israel. And revoke their anti-protest policy. It is the only university to have this. The president of SOAS refuses to condemn the genocide. We are here to stay and will not be silenced. The Palestinians teach us to be resilient and steadfast.’

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘I support all the protests for the Palestinians around the world, particularly the students.

‘I, along with other trade union leaders, will fight to bring in policies within our unions that support the BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions) movement. We call on all institutions to end any support for Israel, like councils and universities.

‘In the RMT we will carry on fighting in support of Palestine against the shocking Israeli genocide.’

The final speaker was Jamil from Friends of Al Aqsa, who said: ‘You can see the complicity of our government. How can we be here seven months later begging them not to kill children?

‘The people in that building don’t represent us. We call for an end to the genocide. No more Nakba. This year the occupation stops. Free Palestine.’

An announcement was made that the next national demonstration in London is at 12noon on Saturday 18 May, marching from the BBC in Portland Place to Whitehall.