200,000 on London March for Palestine!

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The front of Saturday’s 200,000-strong March for Palestine on its way to the rally in Trafalgar Square

A HUGE rally of over 200,000 people marched from Russell Square to Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday 30th March, Palestinian Land Day, to end the Israeli genocide in Gaza.

There were banners from all the major trade unions, including Unison, Unite, GMB, RMT, Aslef, UCU, PCS, FBU and NEU.

There were thousands of Palestinian flags, home made placards and banners from Jewish groups supporting Palestine, including the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and Na’amod.

The march was led by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Stop the War Coalition and Friends of al-Aqsa.

There were constant chants of Free, Free Palestine! End the Apartheid! Stop the Genocide!

The Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists banner, which demanded ‘Charge Israel with War Crimes’ was followed by a loud and lively delegation keeping up constant chants of ‘Victory to Palestine! Stop Bombing Gaza – Stop Raiding the West Bank! and From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!

As the demonstrators were assembling in Russell Square several spoke to News Line:

Dawn Pritchard, a Nottinghamshire barrister and member of the Criminal Bar Association and Unite, said: ‘We showed a powerful strength and unity in our strike last year and we won a lot of what we were fighting for, but we are still fighting for better pay and conditions.

‘I’m here today because I support the plight of the Palestinians. I watch the news and it breaks my heart. Everyone should be on the streets. We have to make the unions fight, boycott Israel and impose an arms embargo.’

Gabrielle and Mesir, a young couple from Sweden, said: ‘One of the main reasons we came to London was to come on today’s demonstration. We have demonstrations every Saturday in Stockholm. We have to stop the genocide, we need to mobilise as the world’s working-class. The war will stop if we make it happen.

‘They talk about democracy but we can see that there is an ongoing media narrative that is obviously not objective in its reporting. We see it all over the world. In Sweden the media is full of Israeli propaganda and it’s the same here in the UK.’

Samira Kawar, a journalist, said: ‘I’m Palestinian. Keir Starmer is a Zionist. The unions should get the Labour Party to kick him out. I’ve voted Labour for 30 years, but not this time. I’m going to vote for a candidate who supports Palestine. I am appalled at Labour supporting genocide.’

Maaria Ginai, from Kent, said: ‘I’ve wanted to come on these marches for a while and this is my first one. Western governments are complicit in Israel’s genocide they need to be held to account.’

Thomas Kitchman said: ‘Here we are again. We’re not going to stop. We need an opposition that’s going to oppose. It’s got to be people power. We need socialism and everything re-nationalised. This is a watershed moment like the Vietnam war.

‘The public are able to see with their own eyes what’s really happening and the absurdity of what we’re being told by the government and the western narrative.

‘Anyone who follows the history knows that Israel is not the victim. It goes back to Balfour. We need socialism throughout the world.’

Fifteen year old student Aya said: ‘We’re here to protest against the really horrible and sad treatment of the women and children in Gaza. They have no food to break their fast with during Ramadan. All the governments are lying – they act differently in front of the cameras. There has to be an immediate permanent ceasefire.’

Chiwaniso Chandiwana, a student from the Midlands, said: ‘It’s just awful. It’s genocide – the worst display of evil against humans. We see it every day and it hasn’t stopped. An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. The working class of the world has got to stop this.

‘I blame capitalism, imperialism and colonialism, and racism. I think of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The boycotts helped. People must go on fighting and resisting.’

Sabeena Ibrahimkity, 24 years old, said: ‘At present more and more people are joining the movement for Palestine. The government are afraid of it. That’s why they eventually voted for ceasefire at the UN. But it is not enough. We need a permanent ceasefire in Palestine. Israel is not even listening to the UN or the US.’

The marchers set off at one o’clock and began filling up Trafalgar Square, with the rally starting at 2.00pm.

• See feature and photo gallery