Up to 2,000 people gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington on Thursday night to demonstrate their fury and disgust at the attacks on Gaza.
The crowd chanted slogans of solidarity with Palestinians while being penned in by large numbers of numbers of police sent to protect the embassy.
People climbed onto the walls and railings of a nearby hotel waving Palestinian flags and placards. Their anger was directed not just at the Israeli state, but also at the British government and media.
As one young woman said, “We have to show people in Palestine that the BBC doesn’t represent everyone in London. We can see through their lies.”
Many had come to the protest with friends and colleagues. At SOAS in central London a 100 strong student meeting took a unanimous vote to dissolve itself and march to join the demonstration.
There was a general feeling of frustration that it had once more been necessary to hold such a protest. But there was also a commitment to building a Palestinian solidarity movement.
Many people commented that the numbers attending the demo were higher than those protesting against Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” attack on Gaza four years ago.
In Manchester some 300 marched in Piccadilly Gardens to demand that Israel stops bombing Gaza. The mood was angry and the crowd was young.
Martin Empson from the Socialist Workers Party addressed the crowd, saying, “We have had so many protests against Israeli brutality, but today is different.
“It is different because the people in the Arab world, especially in Egypt, have shown that if you take to the streets and mobilise you can bring governments down.”
There will be another demonstration tonight, Friday, assembling at 5pm by the statue of Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens.
Over 50 people rallied in Nottingham’s Market Square on Thursday evening in protest at Israeli actions on Gaza.
They were mobilised at short notice by text, email, Twitter and Facebook. Many of were students at Nottingam university which has many Palestinian students.
Further protests have been called for 5.30pm on Friday in the square. There will also be a candle-lit vigil on Saturday.
The Stop the War Coalition and Palestine Solidarity Campaign have called a national demonstration on Saturday 24 November in central London. Assemble outside Downing Street at 12 noon for a march to the Israeli Embassy. More details at www.stopwar.org.uk
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