By Nick Clark
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2805

London vigil rages at Israeli murder of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Her murder is another reason to take to the streets of London for the Palestine solidarity national demonstration this Saturday
Issue 2805
Woman with Palestinian flag gives a victory sign. She is one of a group of demonstrators after the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.

Defiance outside the BBC on Thursday after the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Some 200 people joined a vigil and rally in central London on Thursday for the murdered Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The vigil was a day after an Israeli sniper shot Shireen in the head as she reported on their raid on a Palestinian refugee camp.

People at the vigil reflected the shock and anger that spread through Palestine and beyond. As a long-standing Al Jazeera journalist, she was well known in Arab countries for reporting on Israel’s crimes in Palestine.

“As a Palestinian, it’s my duty to be here,” one person at the vigil told Socialist Worker. “She was reporting on the occupation for years—every day, every week.

“I’m Syrian,” another said. “I have known Shireen since I was a kid. She was always reporting from Palestine. I don’t know why the soldiers would shoot her. And the way they tried to cover it up is nasty.”

Israeli soldiers shot at Shireen and other journalists as they gathered a safe distance from where the raid was to take place. The bullet struck her below her helmet but above the flak jacket she wore marking her out as press—indicating a precise shot.

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett later tried to claim she was actually killed by stray Palestinian fire. And the Israeli military quickly released footage of a Palestinian fighter celebrating shooting a soldier—suggesting that he had actually shot Shireen.

Yet all the journalists Shireen was with say there was no Palestinian fire where they stood. And analysis of the video by human rights organisation B’Tselem and other groups soon showed the fighter was several streets away, and not firing in her direction.

“There is no justification for what Israel did,” one Palestinian at the vigil said. “They said they were shooting at the so-called terrorists—the ones defending the camp—but she was wearing a journalists’ jacket and helmet.”

Shireen’s killing shines a new light on Israel’s occupation. Israel has killed more than 27 Palestinians in raids on refugee camps and assaults on Palestinian protests since March this year.

“They are killing people all the time,” another Palestinian at the vigil said. “Shireen’s killing became big news because she is a journalist. Hours after she died soldiers killed a teenage boy in Ramallah just for throwing stones.”

Thousands of people are set to protest in central London on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the Nakba—when Israel’s creation forced Palestinians from their land. The murder of Shireen is one more reason to join them.

  • National demonstration—End Apartheid, Free Palestine. Saturday 14 May, assemble 12 noon, Portland Place, Central London. Go to palestinecampaign.org

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