Tens of thousands across the UK rallied for Palestine amid Israeli propaganda and aggressive cops

Black woman with a raised fist stands in front of a line of police holding a sign that says 'Victory to the Palestinian struggle'
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Tens of thousands of people across the UK took to the streets in support of Palestine. Whilst many of the rallies successfully provided space for Palestinian voices, some were marred by antagonistic policing.

London marches for Palestine

As Israel continued bombing Gaza, Palestinian solidarity groups across the country called for rallies on 14 October. The biggest and most significant of these was in London, where an estimated more than 100,000 people turned out. Videos showed the entirety of Portland Place, home to the BBC, filled with people:

The rally marched to Downing Street, where it then hosted speeches by Palestinians:

Read on...

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As well as a speech by former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn:

Meanwhile, the crowd had some choice words for current Labour leader Keir Starmer – after he endorsed Israel committing war crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza:

The BBC‘s building had earlier that morning been covered in red paint. Direct action group Palestine Action claimed responsibility. It said in a press release that it had done so:

in response to it’s recent coverage of Palestine, which has been complicit in manufacturing consent for the occupation’s genocide of Palestinians.

As the Canary previously reported, the BBC and other corporate media have been complicit in spreading anti-Palestinian propaganda – to give cover to Israel’s attacks on Gaza. For example, as we previously wrote, we:

analysed the first 20 minutes of BBC News at Six on 11 October. When you remove anchors Clive Myrie and Sophie Raworth’s monologues, the BBC dedicated 84% of the reporting to human stories and analysis around Israel. It gave just 16% of the same type of coverage to Gaza.

Meanwhile, at the London protest, there were also reports that the Met Police had aggressively policed the demonstration. Black Protest Legal Support said its members had witnessed cops engaging in “violence against both protesters and Legal Observers”. The group also said police were forcing the removal of kuffiyehs, a traditional Palestinian headdress. The Met had earlier issued a Section 60AA, which makes refusal to remove face coverings an arrestable offence.

BBC News reported that police arrested four people under the Section 60AA power. LBC reported that the Met arrested a total of 15 people during the London rally:

Marchers in London hold a banner saying "Free Palestine"

Masked up pro-Palestine marcher in London holds a green smoke flare

Cities across the UK march for Palestine

People in other cities across the UK also took to the streets in support of Palestine:

This writer was at the Norwich rally where more than a hundred people including Palestinians turned out to the steps of City Hall. Speakers included Palestinians, Muslims, and trade unionists. Police were present but remained calm, escorting one person away after they heckled a speaker:

Rally for Palestine in Norwich 14/10/23

Rally for Palestine in Norwich 14/10/23

Rally for Palestine in Norwich 14/10/23

People in cities across the world also held pro-Palestine rallies over the weekend, though Germany and France had both banned such demonstrations.

Listen to Palestinians

It’s clear that people throughout the country have seen through the overwhelming anti-Palestine propaganda put out by world leaders and the corporate media. While rallies and demonstrations aren’t likely to have an impact on Israel’s attacks, they have provided a space for Palestinian voices to be heard.

Those voices spoke of pain, sorrow and grief – not only of the Israeli state’s actions but of complicity by world leaders and the media. They also spoke of strength, belief and hope in the resilience of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and around the world. For everyone feeling helpless as we watch on, they are messages we need to remember and amplify.

Featured image and London images via Aidan Frere-Smith, Norwich images by the Canary

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  • Show Comments
    1. Newcastle event – supported by the Socialist, Communist and Socialist Worker Parties, but shamefully no trade unions or Greens (we all knew there ‘d be no Labour). The rally extended into the city centre with the protest extended to Barclays Bank and Marks & Spencer.

      The cops glowered and took videos, but took no action until after the rally had broken up, when they started grabbing people on their way home. Five arrest last I heard, no idea what they’re charged with. The protestors had self-policed themselves admirably with no violence or damage – but I’m sure they’ll find something in order to “send a message” to any future protests.


    2. Palestinians have my total support. However I am a human being and what Hamas did must be condemned by the left too as inhuman. It was ISIS style butchery pure and simple. I regard myself as progressive but if you descend into tribalism you’re fucked. I support the people of Palestine not the gangsters who rule in their name.

      1. @PaulGoetzee : Yes, poor Israel, what did they ever do to deserve it ? Those Palestinians are so ungrateful.

        And Hamas ? They originated as the Palestine islamists. Israel helped finance them as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat (who himself referred to Hamas as “a creature of Israel.”)

        “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Back in the mid-1980s, Cohen even wrote an official report to his superiors warning them not to play divide-and-rule in the Occupied Territories, by backing Palestinian Islamists against Palestinian secularists. “I … suggest focusing our efforts on finding ways to break up this monster before this reality jumps in our face,” he wrote.


        And now the reality has jumped in their face big time.

        1. @PaulGoetzee and others may be interested in an article published by The electronic Intifada today.

          An Israeli woman who survived the Hamas assault on settlements near the Gaza boundary on 7 October says Israeli civilians were “undoubtedly” killed by their own security forces.

          It happened when Israeli forces engaged in fierce gun battles with Palestinian fighters in Kibbutz Be’eri and fired indiscriminately at both the fighters and their Israeli prisoners.

          “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages,” she told Israeli radio. “There was very, very heavy crossfire” and even tank shelling.

          The woman, 44-year-old mother of three Yasmin Porat, said that prior to that, she and other civilians had been held by the Palestinians for several hours and treated “humanely.” She had fled the nearby “Nova” rave.

          “They did not abuse us. They treated us very humanely,” Porat explained to a surprised Golan in the Kan radio interview.

          “By that I mean they guard us,” she said. “They give us something to drink here and there. When they see we are nervous they calm us down. It was very frightening but no one treated us violently. Luckily nothing happened to me like what I heard in the media.”

          “They were very humane towards us,” Porat said in her Channel 12 interview. She recalled that one Palestinian fighter who spoke Hebrew, “told me, ‘Look at me well, were not going to kill you. We want to take you to Gaza. We are not going to kill you. So be calm, you’re not going to die.’ Thats what he told me, in those words.”

          “I was calm because I knew nothing would happen to me,” she added.


    3. In France, pro Palestinian marches have been banned, (but not pro Israel ones). Protests went ahead anyway resulting in Police using tear gas against peaceful protesters. I would be interested to hear more about this.

      1. “On Friday, French police arrested Jean-Claude Meyer, a member of the French Jewish Union for Peace (UJFP), for carrying a Palestinian flag at a Strasbourg protest. Another UJFP member, Perrine, was also arrested and held for an additional 24 hours on Saturday evening. As of Sunday night, it appeared she had not been released. A total of 13 people were arrested at the Strasbourg rally organised in defence of Palestinians as the Israeli state prepares a ground invasion of Gaza.”


    4. Why do the left constantly condemn Israel for it’s human rights abuses while ignoring the atrocities commited by others? Cuba Russia Hamas China Venezuela etc. Why are Israelis constanty singled out. I am genuinely baffled.

      1. I’ve never had a Cuban, Venezualan, Chinese person say that ANY criticism of their country means you hate them all and want to kill them in horrible ways. Yet Russians were also targeted for extermination by the WW2 German Nazis. As were Roma, Poles…

        If you’re going to be constantly wailing about how “speshul” you are, with a Victimhood Complex the size of Saturn, then it also behooves you to behave in a moral fashion – not immediately copy your OWN oppressors, on ANOTHER helpless bunch of civilians.

        Perhaps that’s why. I’m sure the far-right are just anti-semitic as always, although as our regular trolls here show, they currently think the Palestinians/Muslims are an easier target and troll accordingly.

        Needless to say, the shaven-headed street thugs of the Right leave such mendacious pontificating to their Intellectual Castes – ie, the few of them that can read and write – but their swastica’d up fists will hit Jewish minorities as much as “Muzzies”.

        THAT, is not what you will find on the “left” – but criticism of racist policies by Apartheid states? Yes, you will find that.

    5. Hamas loves Jews Hamas loves Christians Hamas loves women Hamas loves freedom of speech and democracy Hamas loves secular society Hamas loves Gay women and Gay men. Hamas loves socialism. Hamas loves transsexuality Hamas loves penal reform Hamas loves peace and understanding but above all Hamas loves you my dear Hamas supporting friends . Yes you.

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