Pro-Palestine march in London attracts 500,000 people

Around 500,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched in London as highly attended marches continue in the British capital amidst the troubling crisis in Gaza, according to The Guardian and other British news outlets. 

Saturdays in London have been dubbed, “The day of the march” as these types of events have been there to see every weekend since the beginning of October. This Saturday (January 13) was no different as the huge crowd turned the city into a sea of green, red, and black, donning keffiyehs and reiterating calls for a ceasefire in Gaza as well as highlighting the war crimes taking place in the enclave. 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the event organisers, highlighted the success of this particular demonstration however commented that 9 people were arrested. 

During the rally, PSC director Ben Jamal, the son of a Palestinian vicar from West Jerusalem, said in a passionate speech, “ Gaza as we know it no longer exists, this is an annihilation, this a genocide but we will rise, we will stand up again from the midst of destruction as we have always done as Palestinians.” , a quote from Isaac Munther, the pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. 

Other notable speakers were the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot and Sinn Fein (an Irish republican and socialist party based in both Northern Ireland and Ireland) President, Mary Lou Macdonald the latter of which told the crowd that Palestinian freedom was not a pipe dream. 

Ireland is the most pro-Palestinian country in Europe which can be explained by the country’s historic struggle against brutal British colonialism, therefore it is natural for them to stand with the oppressed, in this case the Palestinian struggle. 

READ: Hundreds of thousands at pro-Palestinian demo on Armistice Day

Zomlot accused the governing Conservative Party of “complicity” with Israel as well as singing his praises of South Africa for bringing a genocide case against the Middle Eastern country. 

In an 84-page filing, South Africa accuses Israel of genocide as well as highlighting the country’s failures in holding to account those coordinating war crimes in Gaza. 

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron claimed that South Africa’s case was “unhelpful” as well as emphasising the government’s stance, that “Israel has a right to defend itself”. 

Yemen flags were also spotted at the rally on January 13 following British and US forces retaliating against Iran-backed Yemeni rebels Houthis who have recently struck Israeli ships in the Red Sea. 

It was reported that the Western forces bombed 60 Houthis targets at 16 sites in the country including the capital Sanaa as the troubling conflict in Middle East is expanding.  

UK polling found that 76% of respondents supported a full ceasefire in Gaza as the death toll in the territory since October 7 is now at over 24,000. 

Despite the overwhelming support for a cessation of hostilities, the idea of a ceasefire was strongly opposed by lawmakers back in mid-November as 294 were against whilst 125 voted in favour of the idea. 

Notably, nobody in the Conservative Party voted for a ceasefire nor did Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour Party. Those against the idea tend to argue that such move would only benefit Palestinian militants Hamas.

The Guardian/ BBC News

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