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:
London now! pic.twitter.com/yct5vPxq5Q
— Husam Zomlot (@hzomlot) October 14, 2023
The rally marched to Downing Street, where it then hosted speeches by Palestinians:
"Palestinians have the right to resist."
Inspirational speech by Palestinian activist Leanne Mohamad at yesterday's huge London protest for Palestine. pic.twitter.com/KTtHFtgx0F
— 5Pillars (@5Pillarsuk) October 15, 2023
Just In London UK
Very Big number of people gather to show their support for Palestine and for peace#PalestineCapture#GazzeUnderAttack #PalestineLivesMatter #HamasTerrorist #Gazagenocide #غزة_الآن #IsraelFightsBack #Palestine #IsraelPalestineConflict #طوفان_الاقصى_ pic.twitter.com/Oq0kQOgysH
— pray for peace (@peaceforpeace01) October 15, 2023
"It is right to condemn the continuing occupation of Palestine by Israeli military forces."
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is speaking at a pro-Palestine demonstration in London.
Israel-Hamas latest ➡️ https://t.co/5HylWXsPOL
📺 Sky 501, Virgin 602 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/14inFkC1y9
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 14, 2023
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:
At a protest of more 150,000 for Palestine in London, the crowd chants ‘Keir Starmer, shame on you’ pic.twitter.com/Gd7ezWoBxX
— Ed (@emcnally96) October 14, 2023
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.
Cities across the UK march for Palestine
People in other cities across the UK also took to the streets in support of Palestine:
“End the violence. End apartheid. End the siege of Gaza.”
— Skotia (@TheSkotia) October 14, 2023
Tremendous turnout in Edinburgh for Palestine. I counted over 1000 pic.twitter.com/dQKLtgdQ5m
— Ragged Trousered Philanderer (@RaggedTP) October 14, 2023
Manchester is standing up with Palestine. We're all Palestinians 🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/8MvIQCvE86
— Amr Hany (@dr_amrhany) October 14, 2023
Free Palestine from Cambridge UK pic.twitter.com/9tXOvM8xz7
— Sarah Ali (@Saritah_91) October 14, 2023
FREE PALESTINE! 🇵🇸
Swansea, Wales. 🏴
— Hannah Saunders (@saundershannah) October 14, 2023
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:
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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