‘This is a struggle to end Zionism and Apartheid’

A section of the rally for Palestine near the US embassy on Saturday afternoon

Continued from news story

Organisers informed the rally that there were at least 450,000 on the march, that it was the 10th National March for Palestine in London since the Israeli genocide began in October and that because it was International Women’s Day it was all women speakers.
The first speaker was Libby Nolan, President of Unison, who said: ‘Whatever union you are in, we are united in this fight for a ceasefire. However they dress it up, we know that genocide is being carried out.
‘This is a conflict in which two-thirds of those killed are women and children. I say this as a Labour Party member you must call for a ceasefire now Keir Starmer!’
Poplar and Limehouse Labour MP Apsana Begum said: ‘Women in Gaza are being killed by UK-made weapons, with Israel supported by the US and the UK as its ground operation in Rafah is being prepared. It’s now over a month since the International Court of Justice’s “plausible genocide” ruling and still it goes on.’
Lyndsey German, Stop the War Coalition Convenor, said: ‘Joe Biden has said he will build a port. At the same time he sends weapons to Israel every single day. Sunak is trying to scapegoat us. If an extremist is one who opposes genocide in Gaza then yes, I’m an extremist. They are attacking us because they cannot win the argument.’
Fran Heathcote, PCS general secretary, said: ‘It’s five months since the killings began. The US and UK are trying to provide Israel with diplomatic cover for ethnic cleansing. We will not be intimidated we will continue marching.
‘A new genre of depravity is being played out by Israeli soldiers in Gaza on social media and they think they can silence us! The PCS will never stop supporting Palestine. If they think they can silence us with their gutter journalism they’ve got another think coming.’
Emma Sheerin, Sinn Fein Assembly Member for Mid Ulster, said: ‘I’m proud of the long-standing Sinn Fein support for Palestine in Ireland. We don’t need to be told the horrors of colonialism. Colonialists killed Irish people through starvation and they called it a famine then too. Ireland stands with Palestine!’
Louise Regan, PCS Chair, said: ‘These are not hate marches they are peace marches. This is the darkest time for Palestine. Basic necessaries for women are absent in Gaza. How can we live in a world like this? If the government wants us to stop marching they must stop arming Israel and call a ceasefire now!’
Farah Saban, Palestinian Forum in Britain, said: ‘For far too long we have been witnessing genocide. Gaza is being deliberately starved to death. We are not extremists and we will continue to fight for peace.’
Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said: ‘We stand with the Palestinian people determined to rebuild their homes. According to the prime minister we are a mob because we work tirelessly to stop the killing!
‘Alongside this hate campaign being launched on us they say that multiculturalism has failed but the opposite is true. We stand here today in our diversity. This is our triumph and we will continue to do so until Palestine is free!’
Raghad Altigriti, President of the Muslim Association of Britain, said: ‘The international community are witnessing Israeli soldiers posing with women’s underwear as a disgraceful show of their degradation.
‘Parents are burying their children with no time to mourn. Civilians in Gaza are being collectively punished for who they are. The ongoing genocide is continuing with no pause. But we will ensure that those responsible for this genocide must and will be held accountable.’
Beth Winter, Labour MP Cynon Valley, said: ‘Internationalism is very strong in Wales and we stand with all innocent civilians in Gaza. We are standing against the mass killing, which is being accompanied by a smear campaign. We are not the threat to peace, this government is the threat. Stand up and fight for Palestine’
Yasmeen Abu Samad, of Friends of Al-Aqsa, said: ‘The massacre continues with no end in sight. We’ve reached the point in the genocide when famine and disease is spreading. We have no choice but to continue to fight the oppression. The British government have the blood of innocent Palestinians on your hands. Your activism must go further on and on until we win.’
Leanne Mohamad, prospective independent parliamentary candidate for Ilford North, said: ‘Our political establishment is troubled more over peace campaigners than mass murderers. The chattering classes have double standards when it comes to women’s rights in Palestine. Our humanity is not equal to theirs. There’s not a single maternity unit operating in Gaza. Where are the feminists on this matter? Silent.
‘There is a hierarchy of humanity but I say we do count. I am here to tell you we are going to change the course of history. Even if they hate it. I’m standing in Ilford North, where I grew up. Their deaths will not be in vain. We will keep marching however they try to stop us. We refuse to back down because justice knows no compromise.’
Ruth Lucan, from the Jewish Bloc, said: ‘Last week’s Evening Standard said all Jews live in fear in London. Well, I’m Jewish and I say that this place, right here right now, is the safest place to be a Jew. None of us is free until we are all free.’
Claudia Webbe, Independent MP for Leicester East, said: ‘So-called political leaders would have it that it is wrong to protest against genocide. They are trying to gaslight us. We will not be silenced.
‘You being here today is a warning to Sunak and Starmer. Women in Gaza are giving birth in a genocide. Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war. We will not forget and we will not leave our streets until Palestine is free.’
Maha Azzam, Head of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, said: ‘Democratic governments have failed and are complicit. These Western governments are responsible for what is happening. Over 70% of those killed are our women and children. We salute the women of Gaza, we salute the women of Palestine.
‘I say this loud and clear – this is a struggle to end Zionism and apartheid. We believe in a single state, yes, a single state, where all will be free. Let us stand with Gaza and Palestine and put an end to Zionism and apartheid.’
Zoe Goodman, Bristol councillor said: ‘I resigned from Labour over Gaza. In February, Labour manipulated parliamentary procedures to pretend that they had progressive policies on Palestine. They have no feelings for the women of Gaza. How could it take 30,000 deaths before Labour said anything about peace?
‘Tell Labour candidates “if you didn’t call for a ceasefire back in October, November, December then we won’t vote for you”. No ceasefire no vote!’
Zarah Sultana, Coventry South Labour MP, said: ‘Braverman called these hate marches. Sunak says we are a mob. We are the majority – we stand in solidarity with Gaza. What these Tories are saying is ludicrous. They are portraying these peaceful protests as a violent mob. We are here because of genocide in Gaza.
‘Still our government sells weapons to Israel. We stand against racism and hate, demand the rights of the Palestinian people, end the occupation and free Palestine.’
The highly acclaimed Welsh singer Charlotte Church, who has recently come under attack in the media over her support for Palestine, was given a huge cheer when she appeared.
She said on the march: ‘I am here today to show my solidarity with the people of Palestine and with all of the people of the UK who are very bravely upholding our democratic right to be able to come out on to the streets and show our displeasure in a very peaceful and loving and strong way.’
She sang a beautiful song which the huge crowd joined her in singing. She concluded by telling the rally: ‘Only boldness can release us from fear.’
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