Half a million on London march for Palestine!

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The front of Saturday’s half a million-strong march in support of Palestine on its way to a rally near the US embassy in London

HALF A MILLION workers, students and youth marched for Palestine through London on Saturday, assembling in Hyde Park and marching to the American Embassy in Battersea chanting: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!’

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

As the march was assembling Jawad Alkhzraji, an art gallery manager from west London, spoke to News Line, saying: ‘Stop arming Israel. The trade unions must take action to stop the UK support for Zionism.

‘There must be a ceasefire now to stop the killing of innocent people in Gaza – men, women and children.’

Mohammed Ali, a student from Hammersmith said: ‘Biden and the EU are pretending to be worried about the Palestinians being slaughtered but we’ve seen for many years they don’t really care at all.

‘These countries are just trying to appear that they care because they are frightened of their own working class. There’s revolutionary feeling in every country fighting to support Palestine.’

Jon White, a teacher and NEU member from Salisbury, said: ‘I had to be here today. The appalling tragedy that is going on in Gaza, alongside the attack from the Tory government on the right to protest, has forced me to come.

‘They are determined to drive the Palestinian people in Gaza into the Sinai, and the USA and UK are complicit. Here, the Tories are determined to stop the right to protest and they are weaponising the tragedy in Gaza and the reaction to it from ordinary people in Britain. I’m really pleased that my union is fully behind the Palestinian struggle. I would support a general strike.’

There were scores of banners on the march, hundreds of placards and thousands of Palestinian flags.

Trade union banners included CWU Central Postal Branch, Unite Public Health Branch, Hackney NEU, Waltham Forest NEU, Labour Members for Palestine, Brighton UCU, London Region UCU, NUJ London Magazine Branch, Tower Hamlets Trades Council, Portsmouth Unison and Portsmouth Trades Council, Camden Unison, PCS, and Artists Union England.

There was a banner saying ‘Latin Americans Stand with Palestine – End the Genocide, Land Back, Justice!’

The Young Socialists banner declared: ‘Charge Israel with War Crimes!’ and had a loud and lively delegation behind it keeping up constant chants of: ‘One State, Palestine! Victory to Palestine! From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!’

There were constant chants on the march of: ‘From the river to the sea Palestine will be free! No Ceasefire No Vote! Ceasefire Now! 1,2,3,4 Occupation no more! 5 6 7 8 Israel is a terror state! Sunak, Starmer you can’t hide – We charge you with genocide!’

As the march reached Buckingham Palace, it was joined by the the Jewish Bloc for Palestine with their banners including International Anti-Zionist Network, Jewish Socialists and there were loud cheers as the Jewish bloc joined the march,

There were loud boos as the angry march passed the American Embassy and headed to the rally a little further down the road in Battersea.

• See feature and photo gallery