‘General strike for Palestine!’ – urges London May Day march

Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists banner on the May Day March in London

OVER 5,000 workers, trade unionists and youth marched from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square on May Day yesterday.

‘General strike for Palestine’, chanted the Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists delegation behind their May Day banner.

As the march was assembling, News Line interviewed Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, who said: ‘We need to act against the war in Gaza, disrupt arms deliveries, and force the government to end their complicity with the massacre of the Palestinian people.’

Mick Whelan General Secretary of Aslef, told News Line: ‘Aslef retains its wholehearted and unconditional support for the Palestinian people.

‘We condemn disproportionate action by Israel. All civil society including the trade unions should stand up for Palestine.’

The march was led by the SE region of the TUC with a brass band.

Banners on the march included Aslef, CWU, TSSA and numerous trades councils. It was dominated by lots of red flags and Palestinian flags.

News Line spoke to Salim Latifi from Algeria who said: ‘The Palestinian struggle is the central struggle in the working class today.

‘Humanity is at stake, the stealing in broad daylight of the Palestinian identity must be defeated.

‘Students and workers need to mobilise together and coalesce, the only way forward is to organise a gen- eral strike.’

Lucy Edwards, a young worker from Chiswick, told News Line: ‘We saw this morning the NYPD invading the occupation in New York, brutally arresting students and dragging them off – a naked display of force.’

Her friend Petra Lawson added: ‘I’ve even seen pictures of snipers on the rooftops of tall buildings aiming at students.

‘The consciousness is there, 70 per cent of people in this country think there must be ceasefire.

‘Israel is a genocidal settler economy. The only way forward is for a Palestinian state and destroy Zionism. Zionism creates the conflict.’

A very lively group of Philippino workers were on the march with their banner chanting: ‘From Palestine to the Philippines, stop the US war machine! Migrants rights are human rights!’

Cielo Tilan, chair of Philippino Domestic Workers Association explained to News Line: ‘We have 189 members, we are fighting for our rights as domestic workers here in the UK.

‘In 2012 they removed our rights as domestic workers to change employer in the case of abuse and exploitation, and into the tied visa law tying us to our employer.

‘We demand decent work and pay for domestic workers.’

Kerry Bourne, a health worker and member of Unite, said: ‘I went with Health Workers for Palestine early this morning to an action to blockade an entrance of some arms dealers’ offices near St James Park.

‘There were 1,000 of us there.

‘Our SE region of Unite had a motion that we are standing in solidarity with health workers in Palestine.

‘We are very determined to make the union stand with Gaza. We need a revolution! I’ve got faith in the youth. They have shown what’s needed in America.’

CWU London branch officer, Winston Richards, said: ‘The CWU supports Palestine. We’ve been on numerous demonstrations and we condemn the NYPD action this morning. Stop arming Israel, this genocide must end’.