PRESS RELEASE – UK/Palestine: Large turnout expected for pro-Palestine rally despite far-right/Zionist smear campaign

From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

7 June 2018

PRESS RELEASE – UK/Palestine: Large turnout expected for pro-Palestine rally despite far-right/Zionist smear campaign

Thousands of people are expected to converge on London this weekend to mark this year’s Al-Quds Day demonstration in support of the beleaguered Palestinians.

The demonstration will go ahead despite an unprecedented demonisation campaign by far right and pro-Zionist groups determined to undermine and disrupt the event.

Numbers are expected to be larger this year in a gesture of defiance to the demonisation campaign and the ongoing murders by Israeli troops of innocent Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip commemorating 70 years since Israel was formed on expropriated Palestinian land.

Last year a similar demonisation campaign radicalised Darren Osborne into driving a truck into Muslim worshippers in London’s Finsbury Park killing a Muslim man. His intended target had been the Al-Quds Day rally which he was only prevented from reaching by police security measures.

Zionist and far right extremists have again called a rival rally on the same day in order to seek to disrupt the Al-Quds Day demonstration. Among them are the notorious football hooligans, Chelsea Headhunters, who have put out a call on social media for people to attend the counter demo and call to “Ban Islam”.

Al-Quds Day has been a fixture in the capital for over 30 years the annual event is a general show of solidarity drawing in people of all faiths and political persuasions. This year’s London event will again feature people of all political and religious persuasions including Jews from Israel, Christians and Muslims.

The rally will feature a record-breaking Palestinian flag being paraded through the streets. At 70 metres long it is the largest ever Palestinian flag ever to be made with its length signifying the duration of the crippling Israeli occupation.

The event will take place on Sunday 10 June, with demonstrators assembling outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Charles Street in preparation for a march through the busy streets of central London. The Saudi Arabian embassy has been selected as a rallying point because of Riyadh’s growing support for the Zionist regime which has had the effect of isolating the Palestinians and giving Israel the green light to accelerate its injustices.

With much of the world’s attention deflected by other conflicts in the Middle East, the Zionist regime has continued its relentless policy of settlement building, confiscating and isolating Palestinian lands and restricting Palestinians’ movement and access to the necessities of daily life such as water and medical care. Resistance to the occupation has been met with bullets – hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in the last year.

The Gaza Strip remains effectively blockaded by Israel on one side and the Egyptian military regime on the other. The siege has crippled the economy with 41% of people out of work, higher than any other economy in the world, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Youth unemployment is believed to be 60%. Some 80% of inhabitants are dependent on external aid to survive.

IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh said: “The high turnout expected is an indication of the strength of support there is for the Palestinian cause. No matter how much pressure is applied and from whatever sources we will never abandon the Palestinians and their right to resist injustice.”

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Notes to editors:

When: 10 June 2018, 3pm

Where: Gathering outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy on Curzon Street

Speakers include:

Mick Napier – Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Mick Napier is a founder member and has been active in the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign since 2000. He has been on trial for activities arising out of BDS campaigning for six of the last eight years, successfully defeating all of the serious charges. Leaked emails reveal that the US State Department intervened (unsuccessfully) to reverse SPSC boycott victories against the Israeli Embassy in Scotland. He is a frequent contributor to Press TV

Stephen Sizer
Stephen Sizer is the director of Peacemaker Trust, a registered charity dedicated to peacemaking, especially where minorities are persecuted, where justice is denied, human rights are suppressed or reconciliation is needed. Stephen was ordained in 1983 and served as a curate in St Leonard’s on Sea, Sussex (1983-1986). He is the author of three books, In the Footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles, (Eagle, 2004) Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon (IVP, 2004) and Zion’s Christian Soldiers: The Bible, Israel and the Church (IVP, 2007). His books have been translated into Arabic, Farsi, Korean and Spanish. He also writes occasionally for various journals and magazines.

Massoud Shadjareh
Massoud is a veteran human rights campaigner, who began his activism on campus at UC Berkley during the anti-Vietnam protest movement in the late 1960s. He came to the UK in 1971 and has worked in the voluntary sector for some 15 years.  In 1997 he helped to set up the Islamic Human Rights Commission with a group of other Islamic activists working on different international and national projects. He has authored several papers and reports on Islamophobia and human rights, including, The Oldham Riots, Muslim Profiling, Islamophobia: The New Crusade and Whose Rights Are They Anyway?, published by the British Council.  Shadjareh has completed postgraduate studies in Cambridge and London in International Relations.

Aryan Tawakoli
Aryan is from the Islamic Student Association London

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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