Protests in England continue, demanding an end to the genocide and justice for the Palestinian people

Report from correspondent of Indian Workers’ Association (GB)

All over England people are stepping up their protest actions opposing the genocidal war being carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people.

Protest action in Southall

On December 16, the community in Southall, London held a rally in front of Southall Town Hall.  People occupied the road in a sit-in protest, blocking the major junction at Southall Broadway. They called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the genocide of Palestinian people. The protestors then marched from Southall Town Hall along Southall Broadway, to the Mosque where a rally was held.

Speakers from The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Indian Workers Association (GB), Stop The War Coalition, The Monitoring Group, Ealing TUC, other trade unions, community organisations and activists addressed the rally. Many youth and young children delivered solidarity messages and inspiring speeches.

There was heavy police presence including mounted police on horseback, surrounding the protesters. There was pressure from the authorities as well as some local politicians, to not have the sit-in protest or march. The organisers of the protest action and the entire Southall community defied this pressure. The bold nature of the protest in the face of this pressure reflected the proud tradition of people of Southall, of standing up for a just cause.

Southall-stands-with-Palestine

The IWA (GB) was one of the organisers of the protest action. An activist of IWA (GB) addressed the rally.  He mentioned the proud fighting tradition of the Southall community in standing up against racism.  He pointed out that the war in Gaza was being carried out by the big capitalists ruling the US, Britain and their imperialist allies, to further exploit the oil, gas and other rich resources in the Middle East and enrich themselves at the expense of mass genocide of the Palestinian people and seizure of their homeland.  Another activist pointed out that the governments of the US, Britain, and other imperialist countries serve the interests of the monopoly capitalists of these countries to amass maximum profits. Many speakers condemned the government councilors and MPs who are supporting the Israeli government in the ongoing genocide. None of these politicians were allowed to speak at the rally.  Both the British government, and the opposition Labour Party were condemned and shamed for their justification of the genocide of the Palestinian people.

Slogans such as Free Palestine!, Ceasefire Now!, End the Genocide! Stop the Bombing! resonated at the rally, at the road blockade and throughout the long march on the Broadway.

Vigil held at Valentine’s park in Ilford

A vigil was organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign for the children in Gaza who are being massacred by the Israeli occupation army. More than 7000 children have been killed in daily bombing on houses, hospitals, schools and refugee camps.

Southall Southall

The highlight of the event was the reading of poems by the children of the Redbridge schools, expressing the daily life in Palestine, the aspirations of children and the families and people in general.

One of the poems was about a father who expressed his last will as “making a kite of a white cloth and flying it in the sky so that his children can see their father wishing good bye from the heavens”. He says he doesn’t know when he will get killed and won’t be able to say goodbye before departing from this world. The teacher who read this poem made a kite from white cloth and wrote the poem on it.

Hyde_ParkA string of kites had been hung between the trees in the park.

A teacher told the stories of seven children, who have been killed in Israeli attacks recently.  She spoke of how these children had wanted to become doctors and teachers and that they were missing going to school because their school had been razed to the ground by Israeli missiles. As these stories were being told, children of the Ilford community held up photographs of the Gaza children who have been killed.

A child no more than 6 or 7 years old gave a speech citing facts and figures about the various companies including Marks & Spencer, MacDonalds etc. who are connected with Israel. These companies are suffering losses because people have stopped buying from these companies. He also said that US imperialism is becomiing debt-ridden because of supplying weapons to Israel. The speech of the young orator was greatly appreciated.

Indian Workers Association (GB) took part in the protest vigil. A representative of IWA read a poem by a Palestinian author and fighter, Ghassan Kanafani, who was assassinated by the Mossad, the secret service agency of the Israeli government. The poem — ‘I wish children didn’t die’ – and its Urdu translation were read out. The IWA representative saluted the courage of the Palestinian resistance movement. He condemned US imperialism. He said that US imperialism has defended every single atrocity committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people in the last 75 years, since the creation of Israel on Palestinian land. He also condemned British imperialism and other European countries for supporting the genocide in Gaza and the West Bank. He said that the conflict will end and peace will be established in whole of the Middle East, only when the Palestinian people rightfully get their own homeland. He ended his speech with the slogan “Free, free Palestine!” and “Ceasefire now!.”

A retired science teacher, Ben Morris gave a very moving speech, in which he said that Joe Biden has been forced to admit that people in the world are turning against Israel as well as US. Especially the youth in all European countries are seeing the complicity of their governments in the crimes being committed by the Israeli government. Israel will never succeed in wiping out the Palestinian people, he said, repeating the now popular slogan “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians!”.  Israel is bent on making Gaza uninhabitable and has openly expressed its intention to do so, he said, so the protests must continue. It was announced that the next national demonstration will be held in London on January 13, 2024.

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