Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets of central London on Saturday, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
The rally, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other groups, was part of a global day of action in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have been suffering under a brutal Israeli military offensive since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack against Israel.
The protesters marched from Hyde Park to Downing Street, passing through Oxford Circus and Whitehall, where they chanted slogans such as “Free Palestine”, “Stop the bombing, stop the killing”, and “Boycott Israel”. They also waved Palestinian flags and held banners and posters denouncing Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.
Some of the speakers at the rally included Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn, who expressed their support for the Palestinian cause and criticized the British government’s stance on the conflict. They called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to condemn Israel’s actions and to impose sanctions and an arms embargo on the country.
“We are here to say to the British government that enough is enough,” Abbott said. “We want them to stop selling arms to Israel, we want them to stop supporting Israel diplomatically, and we want them to support the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood.”
Corbyn, who is a longtime advocate for Palestine, said that the world cannot remain silent in the face of Israel’s aggression and oppression. He said that the only solution to the conflict is a political one, based on justice and equality for both peoples.
“We are here to stand with the Palestinian people, who have shown incredible courage and resilience in the face of unimaginable suffering and hardship,” he said. “We are here to say to the Israeli government that you cannot bomb your way to peace, you cannot kill your way to security, and you cannot deny the Palestinian people their basic rights and dignity.”
All Around the World
The rally in London was one of many that took place around the world on Saturday, as millions of people in more than 100 countries expressed their solidarity with the Palestinians and their outrage at Israel’s actions. In cities such as Paris, Berlin, New York, Sydney, and Cape Town, protesters called for an end to the war and the occupation, and for the international community to intervene and protect the civilians in Gaza.
The war in Gaza, which has entered its fifth month, has claimed the lives of more than 26,000 Palestinians, including more than 10,000 children, and injured more than 50,000 others, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The war has also destroyed or damaged more than 200,000 homes, as well as schools, hospitals, mosques, and other infrastructure, leaving more than 2,000,000 people displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance.
Israel says it has killed more than 3000 Hamas fighters and destroyed more than 1,000 rocket launchers and tunnels in its operation, which it says is aimed at restoring its security and deterrence. Israel also says it has suffered 1300 deaths, and hundreds of injuries from the more than 40,000 rockets fired by Hamas and other militant groups from Gaza.
The United Nations, the United States, and other regional and international actors have been trying to broker a ceasefire between the two sides, but so far without success. The main sticking points include Israel’s demand for the demilitarization of Gaza and Hamas’ demand for the lifting of the blockade and the opening of the crossings.
The protesters in London and elsewhere said they will continue to pressure their governments and the international community to take action and to support the Palestinian people until there is a just and lasting peace in the region.