For the second consecutive Saturday, London saw a huge demonstration for Gaza, on 26 July. The Metropolitan Police estimated 45,000 protesters marched from the Israeli Embassy to Parliament, as reported in The Independent:
“Tens of thousands of people amassed outside the Israeli embassy in London today to protest against Israel’s incursion into Gaza which has killed over 1000 Palestinians, including at least 192 children. Chanting messages of solidarity to the Palestinian people, a constant flow of supporters filed through High Street Kensington underground station from early in the day. 45,000 people joined the demonstration, which later followed a route to Parliament, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Police.”
Journalist Owen Jones, who spoke at the rally at the start of the demonstration, took this photo as the marchers assembled in front of the Israeli Embassy:
The demands of the demonstration were spelt out by Stop the War’s John Rees, in this interview on Sky News:
60,000 march from the Israeli Embassy to Parliament
When the marchers reached Parliament Square, among the many speakers they heard were MPs Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn, musicians Brian Eno and Dave Randall, the poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen and CND’s Bruce Kent.
The demonstration organisers put the turnout at over 60,000. If the many thousands who protested at Gaza solidarity events round the country are added to the London figure, this was one of the largest mobilisations for Palestine in UK history.
Cities and towns that held protests on the same day as London included Birmingham, Bradford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Hastings, Hebden Bridge, Lancaster, Leicester, Lincoln, Middlesborough, Newcastle, Oxford, Peterborough, Preston, Salisbury, Sheffield, Southampton, Stroud.
Saturday 26 July also saw demonstrations worldwide. From Tehran to Paris, Islamabad to Berlin, Jammu in India to Wellington in New Zealand, Singapore to Buenos Aires, Tunis to Seoul, from Durban in South Africa to Dublin in Ireland, from Oslo to San Francisco: hundreds of cities and towns in every continent all calling for an end to the attack on Gaza and a lifting of the siege.
And notably, 5000 protesters gathered in Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel, under the banner, “No more deaths – Israeli-Palestinian peace, now.” Demonstrators chanting “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” called for an end to the occupation and the siege on Gaza, and lit candles to commemorate the victims. The demonstration would have been far higher if the police had not originally banned the protest, for fear they said of a rocket attack, which made many protesters on their way turn back.
The people of Palestine will know from this great show of global solidarity that there is a growing international movement to end 70 years of colonisation of Palestine and the brutal oppression of its people by the state of Israel.