Former Labor leader among thousands protesting violence in Gaza
Former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared alongside the Palestinian ambassador to the UK at a rally in solidarity with the Palestinian people, amid the ongoing conflict with Israel.
Thousands of people marched through central London on Saturday and arrived outside the gates of the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, as protests took place in other cities across the country.
The demonstrators chanted “Free and Free Palestine” and waved banners calling for an end to the bombing of the territory by Israeli forces.
A temporary stage was set up on Kensington High Street and organizers urged people to keep moving on the road as numbers continued to rise.
Other speakers addressing the crowd included former shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Labor MP Zarah Sultana and rapper Lowkey.
Mr Corbyn told the crowd that the international action is bringing “relief, comfort and support” to those suffering in the conflict.
Crowds chanted “oh, Jeremy Corbyn” and threw roses as he took the stage.
“Think about what it’s like to be a mom or dad and see a bombed out building in front of you, knowing your family is in there and there’s nothing you can do,” Mr Corbyn said.
“It is our global voices that will bring relief, comfort and support in these settlements alongside Gaza and throughout the West Bank, East Jerusalem, which are suffering at this time.
“End the occupation now. End all settlements now and withdraw. End the siege on Gaza now.
Husam Zumlot, Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, said: “This time it’s different. This time, we will no longer be refused. We are united. We are fed up with oppression.
“Today, we are saying enough, enough with complicity. Thank you for being with us. “
Ms Abbott told those in attendance: “We have to remember that we are part of an international movement. It is a worldwide movement for justice.
“Palestinians are having their land confiscated… and they are now being killed in their homes.
“All of this is illegal.”
The names and ages of the children killed in the conflict were read and a minute’s silence was then maintained.
People were told to move further down the road for the sake of crowd safety, and there were cheers as organizers told them the turnout was “the biggest pro-Palestine protest since. 2014”.
Organizers said the number of protesters was estimated at 150,000.
Colorful smoke erupted along Kensington High Street and some protesters climbed onto buildings and bus stops, while dozens of Metropolitan Police officers lined nearby streets.
The Met said that at 7:30 p.m., officers were continuing to engage in dialogue with a small group of protesters who remained at the scene.
He said two people were arrested and then disrupted and a police officer was being treated after suffering a head injury.
Protesters also gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge in Dublin, while a protest was also held in Bristol.
The protests continued as The Associated Press reported that an Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building that housed the PA, Al-Jazeera and other media in the Gaza Strip.
The PA said the airstrike took place about an hour after the IDF ordered people to evacuate the building.
The news agency said there was no immediate explanation as to why the building was targeted.
Thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes after a week of protracted conflict.
Since Monday evening, the Palestinian militant group Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, which the army retaliated by hitting the Gaza Strip with tank fire and airstrikes.
At least 126 people have been killed in Gaza, including 31 children and 20 women.
In Israel, seven people were killed, including a six-year-old boy and a soldier.
The protest in London was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Palestinian Forum in Britain, the Stop The War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Muslim Association of Britain.
A spokesperson for the organizers said: “It is vital that the UK government takes immediate action.
“He must stop allowing Israel’s brutal violence against and the oppression of the Palestinian people to go unpunished.
“The bombing of Gaza that kills civilians, including children, is a war crime.
“The British government is complicit in these acts as long as it continues to offer military, diplomatic and financial support to Israel.”