Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Marchers demand end to Gaza bombing

Protesters against military action in Gaza gather in central London

Thousands of demonstrators descended on the streets of London to protest at the bombing of Gaza, branding the Israeli offensive a "massacre"

But there are concerns that members of the Jewish community who had joined the march felt intimidated while others had stayed at home because they were too afraid to attend today's protest.

Dan Rosenberg, 43, a Jewish stay-at-home father-of-two, said he is appalled at the "horrific" images of dead bodies and bombed-out homes being beamed out of Gaza.

But he said that while many of his Jewish friends felt the same, the "hatred" and extreme attitudes which has coloured much of the discussion about the conflict had left them too afraid to join the throng of protesters.

Mr Rosenberg, from Finchley in north London, said: "It is horrific what is going on in Gaza. It is collective punishment. I don't know how any human being can stand back while this is happening.

"But it is difficult being here. We have seen the anti-Semitic attitudes and you feel very threatened and scared, but we feel we have to stand up and represent.

"Even standing here we feel quite uncomfortable. You hear people say they think the Jews run the media. Those beliefs are unpleasant, ignorant and racist.

"I have Jewish friends who wanted to come but they felt uncomfortable being here."

Thousands of demonstrators, many waving placards and the black, white, green and red flag of Palestine, converged on the BBC's Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus this afternoon.

Chants of "Free, Free, Palestine" were shouted across London's busy West End as marchers made their way to Hyde Park for a rally.

Accompanied by a samba band - a familiar feature at protest rallies - families, students and others from across Britain marched to call for an immediate halt to the killing in Gaza.

Pupils from Ed Miliband's old school, Haverstock, in Chalk Farm, north London, joined the march.

Yasmin Rackal, 17, said: "People shouldn't stand by and watch an injustice. I have little brothers and sisters and if I was in that situation I would want people globally to fight for me."

Sanum Ghafoor, 22, had travelled from Luton to take part. She said: "It is a massacre of the Palestinians, and the world is staying quiet. The British Government keeps supporting the Israeli establishment.

"We want them to impose an arms embargo and put pressure on the Americans to stop supporting the Israeli government."

Philip McCowen, 59, a driver from Bristol, said: "The massacre of children is outrageous. The bombing of hospitals is outrageous. Collective punishment is a crime against humanity."

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