Thousands of people marched through the streets of central London yesterday calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, despite the presence of far right and Zionists aiming to disrupt the protest.
Around 5,000 people turned out for the annual Al-Quds Day parade, which was organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, which highlights the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians.
The march began at the Saudi embassy to protest Riyadh’s growing ties with Tel Aviv and it ended at 10 Downing St. It passed off without major incident despite fears of sabotage by right wing and pro-Israeli protestors, including Maajid Nawaz, who had organised a much smaller counter demonstration. Many of them were upset by the presence of Hezbollah flags at the march.
One person from the counter demo was arrested for possession of a noxious substance.
The IHRC said that throughout the course of the day counter protestors hurled Islamophobic abuse at the main rally and tried to intimidate attendees from the sidelines.
Numbers were significantly up on last year in an act of defiance aimed at the demonisation campaign and the recent murders by Israeli troops of innocent Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip.
One protestor at the march said: “Basically this is a gathering for the oppressed ones, people who’ve been oppressed by the Zionist regime and Israel, and we are standing against this regime all over the world, not only in England, all over the world and we will carry on until the freedom of the Palestinians and basic human rights.”
IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh added: “Today’s turnout just shows how strong the support is in Britain for the Palestinian cause. Despite renewed threats and intimidation Women, children and men from all walks of life have once again shown up in their thousands to tell Israel that enough is enough.”