‘We want no more weasel words – we want immediate recognition of the state of Palestine and an immediate ceasefire’ – Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot

A lively contingent of health workers chanted for Palestine throughout the march

On the fifteenth National march for Palestine over one hundred thousand workers and youth took to the streets in central London in support of a Palestinian state to a rally on the Embankment on Saturday.

As the march entered the Embankment a group of Zionists tried to enter with their banner but were prevented by march stewards.

‘Where were the police?’ said one of the marchers, Bushra Mubashar. ‘They just allowed them to try and come in.

‘I’m from Ilford where independent candidate Leanne Mohamad should have won against Wes Streeting.

‘Streeting speaks about Palestine with disdain, when asked about a ceasefire he says “Ask Hamas” when they are not the ones bombing thousands of children.

‘Leanne only lost by just over 500 votes when she didn’t have anything like the huge donations Streeting had because he has ambitions to become PM.

‘More money was put in here for him like in Leicester where the independent candidate won.

‘We never saw him campaigning on the street in Ilford.’

March organisers said the police had opposed them marching to Parliament.

Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot told the rally: ‘We have fresh faces in Parliament and a new Prime Minister promising change.

‘After nine months of genocide the sun rises over a sea of blood in Gaza.

‘It will take decades to rebuild.

‘We want no more weasel words, we want a commitment for an arms embargo, a commitment for an immediate ceasefire, a commitment to immediately recognise the state of Palestine.’

Next came Unison President Steve North saying: ‘Now we have a Labour government we don’t need to lower our voices but shout louder.

‘We demand a permanent ceasefire, the release of hostages and release of all of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

‘The new government must take action to end occupation, starting with the immediate recognition of a Palestinian State.’

Tower Hamlets MP Apsana Begum said: ‘We want no more complicity in the sending of weapons to the illegal occupation. This must end.

‘I was re-elected for speaking out for the people of Palestine.’

Consultant plastic surgeon from Gaza, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah, told the rally: ‘Nine months of Western governments giving Israel time to finish the job.

‘Nine months of Palestinian resistance to leave their country.

‘Over 400 doctors have been killed.

‘Palestinians will resist until the Zionist genocide is defeated and every prisoner is free. Our day will come.’

John Rees from Stop the War, spoke about the release of Julian Assange, saying: ‘He understood the importance of the Palestinian struggle and revealed the truth about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘The lesson of Assange walking free is to stay organised, never give up and fight until you win.’

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘Politicians haven’t listened to the millions of people marching for Palestine. They should be demanding a ceasefire and sending massive aid to Gaza children.

‘They know that Israel is committing war crimes.

‘In the UK we worry about 14 million families living in poverty, forgetting that in Gaza there is mass starvation.’

Founder of Friends of Al Aqsa, Ismail Patel, told the rally: ‘The truth of the general election is that Labour won only 34 per cent of the vote.

‘Their vote of of 9.3 million was less than the ten million for Jeremy Corbyn.

‘Starmer, you cannot ignore that Palestine is the issue. We demand the refunding of UNRWA.

‘Starmer you won the election but not the hearts and minds of British people.’

Young Leanne Mohamad who stood as an independent candidate against Labour’s Wes Streeting said: ‘Nine months ago when the slaughter against Gaza began I decided we need to do something to make politicians act.

‘I stood in the general election and was only 528 votes away from defeating a leading Labour politician.

‘I received 15,919.

‘Labour and Conservative are two sides of a rusty coin.

‘We had a people-led campaign electing five independent candidates who want to take back power from the moneymen.’

Andrew Feinstein, an independent who stood against Keir Starmer said: ‘Starmer is the first prime minister to enter Downing Street with his own majority reduced.

‘He will not be able to support more money into the NHS because they are spending so much more on weapons that slaughter Palestinians.

‘We must remember after 27 years in prison Nelson Mandela said on his release: ‘Our freedom will only come with the Freedom of the Palestinian people.’

Introduced as the Independent MP for the People’s Republic of Islington newly elected Jeremy Corbyn told the rally: ‘This Parliament  will be different from any other.

‘I am joined by four other independent MPs.

‘We should reflect that the total vote received by Labour candidates was less than in the two previous elections. This was because of Labour’s refusal to stand up for a ceasefire.

‘Is it right that this government facilitates a supply of weapons through the military base at Akrotiri in Cyprus?

‘We are the people we are marching together and we will never give up. History is on our side.’

RMT president Alex Gordon said: ‘We have been marching because the actions of the British state are in contempt of British people.

‘We demand the British government restore funding to UNRWA, ban all arm sales to Israel and recognise a Palestinian state within the 1967 boundaries.’

Louise Regan, from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and NEU said: ‘We have no hope in the Labour government. It is not on the side of the Palestinians and has tried to silence us.’

Irish parliament TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: ‘It’s great to come here and see the Tory Party consigned to the political dustbin, but Starmer is also implicated in genocide.

‘He must end all arm supplies to Israel and expel the Israeli ambassador. There must be no compromised with apartheid.

‘The Irish government has been forced to demand the ending of trade with Israel. The apartheid state must be dismantled.

‘In Ireland we ended colonial rule with a revolutionary movement just like in Algeria.’

Hatem Bazian from University of California said: ‘All Gaza universities have been destroyed yet all Chancellors and leaders of universities over here have been silent.

‘The mainstream media act as a propaganda arm for the Israeli government.

‘Students were on the right side of history over Vietnam as they are today over Palestine.’

Speaking to the News Line, Ruksana, 34, said: ‘Nine months of genocide in Gaza with support from the ruling class in the UK, including the Tories and the red Tories that have just been elected.

‘I want this genocide to end, for Palestinians to have peace, for little children to exist without the fear of getting killed by bombs or starvation.

‘Now we have Starmer – a self-described Zionist who will not move a muscle to defend Palestinians until we take to the streets and make it impossible for him to rule without stopping all support from the UK.

‘No UK planes flying to a country several thousand miles away to bomb women and children, no diplomatic support, end it all right this second because this country is sick and tired of this racist posturing and doing absolutely nothing.’

Jacob Mani, a 19-year-old undergraduate student at SOAS, voiced his frustration: ‘Millions have come to these marches for the past nine months and not a thing has changed.

‘I don’t want to live in a world where it is okay to destroy hospitals, schools, bakeries, homes, etc., for months and months with the complete backing of every western government.

‘I just can’t bear to see any other dead Palestinian baby or hear about someone’s brutal torture.

‘This is mental. Starmer needs to recognise Palestine right now and call his buddies to withdraw UK support or his government is dead on arrival.’

Emma, 28 highlighted her scepticism about the new government: ‘Yesterday, Starmer got fewer votes than Labour got under Corbyn. Wes Streeting barely got elected, and in five places, pro-Palestine independents defeated Tory-Labour.

‘He (Starmer) will now say there is no money, “Oh look, the books are all terrible,” and do more cuts to our NHS and social spending, and he will keep Sunak’s mandatory service as he stuffs his cabinet with Labour friends of Israel. Disgusting stuff.’
• See photo gallery