MORE than 250,000 workers, students and youth marched for Palestine through central London on Saturday.
The march assembled outside BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place and marched on Parliament, chanting: ‘Free, free Palestine! Ceasefire Now!’ and ‘From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!’
Speakers at the rally at the end of the march announced a Day of Action for Palestine this Wednesday, when trade union members and students all over the country are called on to hold morning protests and lunchtime walkouts.
Unite, UCU and NEU, along with CND and Stop the War, are holding a meeting at 7pm tomorrow evening ahead of the Day of Action.
As the march was assembling several demonstrators spoke to News Line.
Mohamad Morsy, a food manufacturer from Buckinghamshire, said: ‘The trade unions have to act now to bring down the Tories.
‘I don’t know who to vote for in an election, they’re both just as bad. The boycott is working to a degree. The public are fighting for Palestine.
‘I can’t sleep, thinking about what is happening. My family is from Egypt. My uncle died in the 1972 war. The whole region must take action to support Palestine and end the genocide.’
Ash Yasin, from Malaysia, said: ‘Malaysia supports Palestine 100%. Israel is a terrorist state killing women and children. The evidence is everywhere. It’s 2024. How can this inhuman violence be ignored?
‘Britain has a colonial past in Malaysia and all over the world and Britain is responsible for the crisis in Palestine. Revolution is spreading around the world, with social media playing an important role.’
Anna Taylor, a social services worker and Unison member from Scunthorpe, said: ‘The reason why I think these marches are so important is that the people of Gaza must see us and see the support there is for them all over the world.
‘I’ve watched and followed some of the citizen journalists from Gaza and they have done so much to make sure the world sees what’s happening at present at personal cost. 126 journalists in Gaza have been targeted in killed and so have their families.’
Mamoon Malik, ASLEF Branch Secretary at Gidea Park in East London, said: ‘I’m proud my union supports the Palestinian struggle for the basic rights that we enjoy in this country. In Palestine they don’t have these basic rights. We need to stand up for them and always fight for these rights here and for the Palestinians.
‘I urge the trade unions to up their action, get together and do all they can. Genocide must be stopped. It’s the responsibility of all of us, especially in the trade unions and it’s a desperate need. Every minute counts. We need a general strike.’
Jessica Russo, a maths teacher and NEU member, said: ‘Hind is a 6-year-old girl who is one of the Palestinian children who have been arrested without cause or have disappeared. Israel targets medics. They killed Hind’s family in their car and then the medics went to help Hind disappeared along with her.
‘They also target journalists. Twelve days earlier the journalist, Mansur Shouman, a Canadian citizen disappeared. When he was asked what he was doing about it, the Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said he is working at it. But he was really just brushing off the question.
‘What we need now is action around the world. The trade unions must rise up and support Gaza.’
Sharon Brooks, a Unite member and NHS worker who came to the march with a delegation from Portsmouth, told News Line: ‘I think there should be a general strike to stop the destruction of the NHS and all the other parts of the welfare state and also to support Palestine.
‘This government is smashing up everything that makes life tolerable. We have no representatives in Labour. Labour has broken with the working class. We’ve got an ex-attorney general running the Labour Party! We need an uprising, a revolution to overthrow the capitalist system.’
The march was led by Friends of al Aqsa, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND, and Stop the War.
On the march there were banners from Homerton Hospital, Lincoln Friends of Palestine and Medicines Sans Frontieres. The Young Socialists banner read: ‘Charge Israel with War Crimes! End the Occupation! Victory to Palestine!’
There were thousands of Palestinian flags and hundreds of placards and banners, including Hands-Off Yemen, Trade Unionists for Palestine, banners from the UCU, Camden Unison, Haringey Unison, Barnet Trades Council, Long Live the Artists of Palestine, University College London, the PCS, Artists Union of England, UCU Goldsmiths, Islington NEU, NUJ, NEU Cambridgeshire, ASLEF, RMT.