Over 250,000 workers and youth march for Palestine!

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Palestinians marched down Regent Street in central London on Saturday displaying symbolic keys representing their right of return after Israel dispossessed them from their homes in 1948

More than a quarter of a million workers, students and youth participated in the National March for Palestine through central London on Saturday.

Palestine flag-waving marchers assembled at BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place near Regents Park and proceeded to Whitehall where there was a huge demonstration opposite Downing Street.

As they were assembling marchers spoke to News Line.

Mehmet Ersen, a postman from Borehamwood. said: ‘We have to stop the crimes that have been happening not just now but over the decades against the Palestinians. This government is in favour of those crimes. There has to be an arms ban on Israel.’

Angela Fiddes, a teacher from Harlow carrying her placard, said: ‘The anti-semitism label is being used as a form of censorship to try and shut down and stop us addressing the terrible crimes that Israel is carrying out. I support a general strike. You’ve got to hit them in the pocket – that’s the only thing that they are interested in. That’s why we’ve been supporting boycotts but it’s not enough. They are using our taxes to supply Israel with weapons to kill people. The unions must stop the government funding genocide.’

Halima Hassan, a carer from Newham, east London, said: ‘The genocide has to stop in Palestine, Sudan and everywhere else. It has to stop. We want a better world. We want action now from the unions – that’s where the workers, the real people, are. I believe a general strike with all the trade unions would solve it – all the trade unions coming out together. The unions can defend the real people, not the rich. There must be a Palestinian state where Muslims, Jews and Christians can live in peace together. I want to make it clear, I don’t believe in a two-state solution, there must be one state of Palestine.’

Ahmad Walee, an RMT member from Greenwich, south east London, said: ‘We’ve got to stop the arms sales and organise an effective boycott of Israel. The leaders of the unions don’t want to do it but we’ve got to make it happen.’

The march set off led by the banners of the four organisers, Friends of Al Aqsa, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND, and the Stop the War Coalition.

These were followed by the Young Socialists ‘Defeat Imperialism! End the Genocide! VICTORY TO PALESTINE!’ banner.

There were banners from many trade unions including Unite, UCU Goldsmiths, UCU Camden, Unison, CWU South Midlands Postal, Haringey Unison, Islington National Education Union, Ealing NEU, Waltham Forest NEU, PCS, and many others.

There was a big contingent behind the Jewish Bloc for Palestine banner as well as banners saying: ‘Expel Israeli Ambassador for Inciting Genocide,’ ‘International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network’ and ‘Jewish Voice for Labour’.

There were pithy placards saying: ‘Gaza Class of 24 – All Universes Destroyed, The Nakba Never Ended – The Colonisers Lied, Not War, It’s Colonialism. Not Eviction, It’s Ethnic Cleansing. Not Conflict, It’s Occupation. Not Complicated, It’s Genocide!’

The march left Portland Place with a great cheer and proceeded down Regent Street through Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square and on to the rally in Whitehall chanting: ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!’

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