On Friday 15 December, Palestine protesters unveiled a giant banner and played sounds of bombs exploding outside St Werburghs Community Centre in Bristol. The Community Centre was booked for a Bristol-West Labour Party “Christmas Quiz and Buffet”.
A quiz for Labour members over Palestine
Reportedly in attendance were Thangam Debbonaire (MP for Bristol West), together with Dan Norris (Labour West of England Mayor), Clare Moody (Labour Police and Crime Commissioner), plus local Labour councillors.
The banner read:
BRISTOL LABOUR QUIZ
GAZA IS BECOMING A GRAVEYARD FOR CHILDREN
A) VOTE FOR CEASEFIRE?
B) ABSTAIN FROM VOTING?
Local people are shocked that in November their MP Debbonaire, together with the three other Bristol Labour MPs, abstained from the vote for a ceasefire on Gaza. In addition, Dan Norris is known to be a member of “Labour Friends of Israel”.
Over the last two months Bristol has come out in force over the shocking death toll and destruction in Gaza.
Bristol: widespread solidarity with Palestinians
There have been fortnightly marches through the city with numbers up to ten thousand people attending.
The Arnolfini, a prestigious arts venue, closed after protests about their decision to cancel a long-established Palestine arts festival.
Also on 15 December there were vigils by doctors and other health professionals outside the Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital, a rally, plus a vigil by journalists and media workers.
A Gaza-born man in Bristol is on hunger strike and is currently hospitalised.
On Saturday 16 December there was a fourth local demonstration with people marching through central Bristol and calling out boycott targets – including supermarkets, banks, and Zara in the shopping centre:
Rowland Dye of the Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign said:
Bristol has seen repeated marches with thousands showing their shock over the horrific carnage in Gaza.
As secretary I contacted all four local Labour MPs, plus Marvin the elected Mayor, asking them to speak at our rallies or to send a message. None of them, including Thangham Debbonaire, have ever replied. I’m sure many Bristol people think as I do that’s utterly shameful.
Another protester, who identifies as a former member on Bristol-West Labour Party, said:
Tonight they’re enjoying their quiz night and their £15 buffet. Meanwhile people in Gaza have been starved for over two months, have been slaughtered in their thousands, and right now men, women, and children will be lying crushed dying under the rubble of their bombed homes. I’m shocked and tearful at their heartless disregard for humanity being shown by our elected representatives.
A third protester pointed out that:
Thousands of Bristol people have been marching through the centre of our city showing their compassion for the people of Palestine. Yet it’s shocking the people we vote for are junketing here then hiding their faces from us.
Bristol Palestine Alliance was formed in response to the horrific events happening in Gaza. Acting as an umbrella group, it brings members from organisations and groups and communities in the city together to respond collectively to organise marches and other events to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine. It is based on the network of solidarity that has been successfully built in this city over many years.
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