Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Thousands gather for Gaza protest

Thousands of protesters march through Whitehall in central London, to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza
Protesters gather in Trafalgar Square to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza

Thousands of protesters gathered in London today to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza and "justice and freedom" for Palestine.

Up to 15,000 people are expected to march through the capital from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington.

Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: "London has already shown its outrage at Israel's attacks on the mostly refugee population of Gaza, with people turning out in their thousands last week.

"Today's national demonstration will give people from across the country the chance to say enough is enough, Israel's siege of Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian land has to end now.

"People want justice and freedom for the Palestinians, and they will be voicing this in their thousands."

Labour MP Diane Abbott was among the speakers to address protesters as they gathered in Whitehall.

"I am here to show solidarity with the people in Gaza," she said.

"We call for an end to the occupation and justice for Palestinians."

Pro Palestine supporters carried placards with the messages "Gaza, stop the massacre" and "stop Israel's war crimes".

Protesters arrived at the Israeli embassy but were met by a police blockade preventing them from getting near to the building.

A number of high-profile Palestine supporters addressed the crowd near to the embassy.

Respect MP George Galloway said nearly 300 passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight had been killed "without a reason" by "fanatics".

He went on: "The 300 Palestinians are completely ignored by the same newspapers, by the same television stations and by the same political leaders who are threatening sanctions and war against Russia but who are supporting, with weapons and money and diplomatic political and media support, the Israeli killers.

"In fact, if whoever fired that missile in Ukraine had fired it instead at the beach in Gaza, the media could have knocked off for an early lunch and saved themselves all of this work.

"Why the double standard? Why is the blood in Ukraine so much more noteworthy than the blood in Gaza?"

Addressing the crowd, Baroness Jenny Tonge said: "What on earth is Israel doing? It has lost its legitimacy, it is no longer a democratic state.

"It breaks international law, Geneva conventions, it has no respect for human rights. Israel must leave the international family of nations."

Organisers repeatedly told the crowds to spread out during the speeches over fears people were being crushed.

Two children were pulled over a barrier close to the stage and one organiser said 10 people had fainted in the crowd.

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