Over 500 loud and angry protesters gathered at short notice outside the Israeli embassy in London on Friday evening.
They demonstrated in solidarity with Palestinians evicted from Sheikh Jarrah, east Jerusalem, and demanded freedom for Palestine and sanctions on Israel.
Elif and Tamanna, presidents of the Palestine society at Westminster University, attended the protest.
For Elif, freedom for Palestine means “stopping the killing and stopping evictions”. She said the energy has died down after the huge protests last May and June. “We need to keep Palestine in the media,” she told Socialist Worker.
Tamanna said, “We have to change the mainstream narrative that Israel didn’t colonise Palestine, and challenge people’s thinking on this.”
Angry and determined demonstrators chanted, “One, two, three, four occupation no more. Five, six, seven, eight Israel is a terrorist state.” And, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Mia attended the protests last year, including when over 100,000 people marched in London one of the biggest Palestine solidarity demonstrations in Britain. “Any time something for Palestine is happening I come,” she said. “Protesting helps to raise awareness—even if someone walks past and looks up Palestine. “Protesting is powerful.”
Mia added, “Palestinian people, but also so many across the world, are oppressed and live in regimes of terror. Showing solidarity thousands of miles away can have an impact on those people and regimes.”
Placards on the protest read, “Freedom for Palestine,” “Save Sheikh Jarrah,” and, “Sanctions for Israel.”
Speakers discussed putting sanctions on Israel and Western imperialist support for the Israeli military machine. They also pointed to the solidarity from trade unions and workers in the fight for Palestine.
Among the speakers were trade union leaders and officials from the Unite, NEU, Unison and UCU unions.
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Kamel Hawwash from Palestine Solidarity Campaign told the rally his cousin was one of those in east Jerusalem facing eviction. His son has been detained without charge by Israeli forces since August. He slammed the evictions as “appalling” and shouted “shame on you” at the British government for standing by while they took place.
Ellie told Socialist Worker that Palestinians should not be living under occupation. “The occupation is a result of conflict, politics and power,” she said. “We have to fight over these issues too.”
Cops tried to stop protesters from breaking out into the street, but following the rally a march took to the road and disrupted traffic.
Malaika travelled from Wales to join the protest. “It’s important everyone keeps showing up,” she said.
“People shouldn’t sit back—we need the momentum. We have to keep fighting for equal rights for Palestinians and to end apartheid.”
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