400,000 March On Downing Street For Victory To Palestine!

0
353
The front of Saturday’s huge 400,000-strong march setting off from Hyde Park and heading for Downing Street demanding the right to return for Palestinians

Over 400,000 workers, students and youth marched on Downing Street on Saturday, while thousands more marched in other towns and cities around Britain, including Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle, Liverpool, Plymouth and Salford.

In Edinburgh when a demonstrator was arrested and bundled into the back of a police van, scores of marchers surrounded the van to stop it from moving.

There were mass rallies in towns and cities across the world on Saturday, including in Berlin, Florida, Belfast, Paris, Ankara, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Lagos, Bogata, Beirut, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Sydney, Washington, New York, Tampa, Kuala Lumpur, Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, Tripoli.

Another London march has been called for this Saturday, where over half a million are expected to attend.

The huge London march kept up a noisy shout of: ‘Free, free Palestine, Free, free Palestine; No more genocide, No more apartheid; Stop arming Israel, stop bombing Gaza; Long live Palestine, Long live Gaza. We want justice, we want action, we want boycott, we want sanctions.

Hundreds joined in with the slogans behind the Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists banner, which demanded: ‘Charge Israel with war crimes!’

There was a large delegation of doctors and other health workers on the march with Pro-Palestine banners warning: ‘Targeting healthcare is a war crime,’ and placards saying: ‘UK Medics say no to GENOCIDE’.

One huge banner stated: ‘Gaza is the world’s largest extermination camp!’, another from the Islamic Human Rights Commission pictured Malcolm X with his declaration that ‘Truth is on the side of the oppressed.’

Several marchers spoke to News Line. Jack PW, a third year biology student at Oxford University said: ‘I believe in collective action. Increasingly in this country after 13 years of Tory rule life is intolerable for so many people.

‘I was a Labour Party member under Corbyn but I left under Starmer. His comments about collective punishment in Gaza are absolutely indefensible. He was asked if he thought it was alright for the Israeli government to turn off electricity, water, food and fuel in Gaza and he said “they have that right”.

‘It’s a clear breach of international law. Collective punishment is a crime against humanity. I think we are approaching a general strike being the only option. My main focus is climate activism. Food insecurity in this country is going to become terrible.’

Kaya Vogel, a young artist from south east London, said: ‘I’m here to support Gaza – it’s a terrific thing that they are doing.

‘Our government is complicit in genocide in Gaza and all of Palestine. The Tory government is responsible for what’s happening now.

‘There should be a trade union boycott of Israel. There has to be a general strike. The trade unions and the Labour Party are not fulfilling the roles they should be playing. They’re not doing their job.’

Caz Thomas, an electrician and Prospect member, said: ‘There needs to be a ceasefire to protect innocent lives. People on both sides are growing up traumatised. Children need a chance to grow up in peace and have peaceful opportunities.

‘At the moment violence is their only option. The trade unions should call a general strike to defend Palestine.’

While the London march snaked through Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square to Whitehall, the mass rally outside Downing Street began with the announcement that it was so huge that the back of it still hadn’t left Marble Arch.

• See editorial, feature and photo gallery