London Calling for a Free Palestine

Protesters in London demand UK action.
Image © Alex Mannion-Jones.

10th Jan, 2009: Protesters in London heard a diverse range of speakers call for peace in Gaza today. Leaders at the Muslim Council of Britain stood alongside Jews for Justice, Amnesty spokesperson Annie Lennox, and dozens of other UK-based social, religious, and human-rights groups, in the capital’s biggest mass demonstration since 2003.

Speakers unilaterally agreed on three key issues:

  • Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Gaza strip is an apartheid-like regime, and the current resistance from Hamas is the result of this
  • The current invasion must end and the years-long blockade of Gaza’s borders be lifted by Israel and Egypt, allowing Gaza’s economy, infrastructure and democracy to recover
  • Israeli generals should be tried for war crimes following the atrocities that have been reported by UN and Red Cross officials.

Many speakers differed on some points, with some condemning the Hamas rocket attacks on civillians, while others defended Hamas as a legitimate resistance movement in the face of oppression. However, the many representatives had much more in common than in disagreement.

The strength of the protest, however, was in the sheer amount of British citizens who travelled to London to have their voices heard. Estimates range from 50,000 to 200,000 individuals – making this the biggest UK protest for Palestine in history. The weekly London protests will continue, speakers said, until Palestine is liberated from Israeli occupation, and has been allowed independence.

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