‘ISRAEL OUT OF LEBANON’ – demands Downing Street picket

A section of last Friday evening’s picket opposite Downing Street
A section of last Friday evening’s picket opposite Downing Street

‘Victory to Hezbollah! Israel out of Lebanon! Freedom for Palestine! Cease-fire now!’ chanted over 800 demonstrators opposite Downing Street last Friday night.

The two-hour evening picket was called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Protesters waved Lebanese and Palestinian flags, carried pictures of wounded children and placards condemning the Israeli Zionists’ terror being rained on Lebanese civilians and the Palestinians.

Many carried placards denouncing ‘Bush and Blair –Terrorists’ with ‘Blood on their hands’.

A delegation of Lebanese children led by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and leaders of the Lebanese community in Britain carried bouquets of flowers and laid them at the gates of Downing Street.

These were in memory of the hundreds of Lebanese children who have been killed in the daily Israeli bombardments by air, land and sea.

News Line spoke to a number of the protesters.

Rita Mills, a visitor from Los Angeles told News Line: ‘My father comes from Syria and my mother from Algeria.

‘The Jews are very welcome. There is no hate between Arabs and Jews, it’s their government. We don’t like Israel’s policies.

‘I’m for the victory of the Lebanese people.

‘The Arabs should stop selling the oil, they need to come to the aid of the Lebanon, to demand a ceasefire.

‘The role of the British government is not surprising, they’ve always supported the Americans.

‘People in Britain, and all over the world, should stop paying taxes, boycott everything, refuse to work.

‘We understand the gravity of this. If the Americans win this war – and it is an American war – then Bush will attack Syria, everywhere in the Middle East.

‘He won’t go to war himself because the American people would string him up, so he’s getting Israel to do it for him.’

Leila, a Lebanese woman, added: ‘Hezbollah are winning, of course.

‘It’s the Zionists who are in a crisis.

‘I don’t know why they are destroying the whole country because of two soldiers. This is a big lie.

‘They think they can have Lebanon but over the dead bodies of the whole people of Lebanon, they will never achieve this.

‘They ran away in 2000 and they are going to run away again.

‘At the United Nations, everyone has their own agenda – all at the expense of the Lebanese.

‘We are all Hezbollah, of course.

‘If you go from the north to the south, everybody is Hezbollah.

‘The workers in Britain should take strike action against Blair and his support for Israel and America who leads him.

‘He’s the one who should pay, by being put out of power.’

Hamja Ahsan is the younger brother of Talha Ahsan.

Hamja said: ‘My brother is in Belmarsh prison.

‘They are trying to extradite him to America.

‘The British government have been very complicit and (UK foreign secretary) Margaret Beckett has been pathetic.

‘I support the Lebanese people and the Palestinians.

‘What Israel is doing is horrendous, they are carrying out war crimes.

‘It seems there is one set of rules for Israel and another for everyone else.

‘My house got raided by police on February 8th.

‘That was what really woke me up. Before, I was very apathetic.

‘I want Blair out and for Britain not to be a poodle for the United States.’

Amina Hassan, a Somali student told News Line: ‘We want a cease-fire now. We are sick and tired of seeing people dying every day.

‘I’m for the victory of the Lebanese and Palestine and the defeat of Israel and Bush.’

School youth Mustapha Jawad, whose family are from Lebanon, added: ‘I’m for the victory of Hezbollah and Israel out of Lebanon.

‘I want Tony Blair to support the right side, not be scared of Bush.

‘Britain should stop letting the US send bombs and help Israel.

‘It should not let the US planes use British airports.

‘The workers and youth of Britain should stand up against Blair because he supports America and Israel.’

School student Zarah Nur Mohammed said: ‘I think the war is unjust and what Blair and Bush are doing is all wrong.

‘I think Tony Blair should go, he’s shed enough blood of little children.’

Her cousin Fatima Nur Mohammed added: ‘George Bush and Tony Blair are just warmongers.

‘They want more. They are not satisfied with what they have.

‘They’ve shed enough blood in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine – who’s going to be next?

‘The workers of Britain should go on strike against Blair.

‘What Israel is doing is wrong and Blair is wrong to support them.’

Student Feras Jayoosr said: ‘Israel is committing some very horrible crimes against the Lebanese people and the Palestinians.

‘Everyone knows the United States is helping Israel to carry out its crimes and Tony Blair is also participating in the war crimes in Lebanon.

‘Tony Blair should demand an immediate cease-fire.

‘But at the moment he is taking orders from George Bush.

‘The unions should take strike action and not fund Tony Blair.’

Halil Hamdoun, whose family comes from Lebanon, said: ‘An immediate cease-fire should be announced by America and Britain.

‘It’s ridiculous the way in which all the Western countries have reacted to the current situation.

‘The UN should also be doing more to bring this crisis to an end.

‘But America is dragging things out by opposing the Russians’ suggestion of a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire.

‘America has given Israel a green light for the murder of innocent civilians all the way through.

‘Blair is supporting Bush too much.

‘He should take notice of what the British people say.

‘It was like this over Iraq – the British people were against the war but he went ahead.’

Lawyer Nighat Sahi told News Line: ‘We’re here to demonstrate our support for the people of Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq.

‘We’re against the UK foreign policy and America’s.

‘We want to see freedom for the Lebanon and for Israel to withdraw.

‘I’m for the victory of the Lebanese people.’

Fellow lawyer Tazeen Said added: ‘I’m against the UK’s blind allegiance to US foreign policy.

‘I want to see an immediate and unconditional cease-fire in Lebanon.

‘I want to see the immediate withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Lebanon, and an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.’