Yesterday once again saw a massive turn out at demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine. In London, Stop the War report that 150,000 people marched in the biggest ever UK protest for Gaza. Shanice McBean took part in the demonstration as it made its way from BBC Broadcasting House to Hyde Park. “The movement is growing, and rightly so. This isn’t just about bombing but also siege, occupation, racism, a blockade, colonialism and decades of oppression.” The march went via the US embassy where protesters chanted “You lost in Vietnam, you’ll lose in Palestine”.
Barnaby Raine, who had helped organised the anti-zionist Jewish block on the demonstration spoke outside the BBC, concluding that “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians!”:
Earlier in the day, activists from London Palestine Action, shut down two Barclays bank branches. Activists made a “cheque” from Barclays paying Elbit, Textron and Lockheed Martin that was presented to staff by the Grim Reaper. As activists refused to move, the banks were forced to close for the day.
A large demonstration also took place in Edinburgh. Pete Cannell reports:
The Scottish demonstration for Gaza was organised at just three days notice but still drew together a diverse crowd of around 2000 people. The demo assembled at the top of the Mound, right in the heart of the Edinburgh Festival. Edinburgh is buzzing with people at this time of the year. Visitors and passers by queued up to sign petitions. A week earlier we had surrounded Glasgow City Chambers, and on 8th August the pressure of the campaign resulted in Glasgow City Council raising the Palestinian flag above the council headquarters. Fife Council has made the same decision. The Scottish Government has also moved its position and is now calling for an arms embargo on Israel.
Meanwhile, in Portsmouth around 200-300 people demonstrated, a much bigger turnout than any of the organisers had expected. People joined the march as it passed through the town center. A group of 15 fascists attempted to disrupt the march, however were fairly easily seen off by the demonstrators. Following yesterday’s successful mobilisation, Portsmouth Socialist Network and Portsmouth PSC will be campaigning to un-twin Portsmouth from the Israeli city of Haifa.
70 people assembled for a solidarity protest outside the guildhall in Cambridge, despite many activists also taking part in the demonstration in London. Amy Gilligan reports:
Local activists spoke about the importance of the BDS campaign and chants of “Free, free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” could be heard around the busy market square. Organisers had planned the a static protest, but on the initiative of some young women who had joined in the demonstration there was an impromptu march around the market. The police agreed that we could do one lap, so we went as slowly as possible to maximise our impact.
At the Romsey Art festival, which also took place in Cambridge yesterday, a blues and comedy set concluded in pot banging for Gaza. Residents were invited to bring out their pots and ladles to add percussion to StumbleCol’s numbers to celebrate those marching elsewhere in the country.