As the war between Israel and occupied Palestine escalates to terrifying heights, thousands of demonstrators swarmed central London earlier this week to show solidarity with Palestinians, to call for an end to the Israeli Occupation, and to demand that the Israeli military cease its relentless bombing of civilians in Gaza. “We only know what we see on television,” Sarah Callaway told TRNN during the demonstration, “but it looks like the Second World War, it looks catastrophic, and it really looks like the Israeli government is trying to do a genocide on Palestinian people.” Nadia Péridot reports on the ground from London.
Produced, edited, and filmed by Ross Domoney
Research, writing, and presenting by Nadia Péridot
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”
As hundreds of thousands of people across Britain, Ireland and the world take to the streets, we are here in central London talking to individuals about Palestine and Israel.
“Free Free – Palestine!”
On Saturday the 7th of October a steady escalation of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories culminated in Hamas, an armed Palestinian group with its own agenda, infiltrating Israeli territory and carrying out brutal attacks on civilians. What followed was the beginning of Israel’s heavy bombing, concentrated on the enclave known as Gaza.
Any normal thinking human being can see you have 2 million innocent people that have not done or condoned anything Hamas have done. They’re just there and they are living their lives – under occupation – and we’re going in and we’re bombing them. And it’s none of our responsibility…? Like – ?
Just our hearts are with the people in Gaza and all the people who are standing against the war and all the people who are standing against the bombing. We’re with you. We are with you.
“1,2,3,4 – occupation no more”
This demonstration began outside BBC offices in a direct criticism of the role of mainstream media in the continued dehumanization of Palestinians. What is clear is that people are dying and what’s fuelling the anger is that whilst much of the media and Western governments are deafeningly silent, a horrifying reality is unfolding before our eyes.
We only know what we see on television, but it’s looks like the Second World War. It looks catastrophic, and it looks like…it really looks like the Israeli government is trying to do a genocide on Palestinian people.
I’m African American and, you know, my family we’ve lived through racism and Apartheid. And what we see happening to Palestinians is what happened to us, you know, as people of color.
This isn’t the first time that thousands of people have taken to the streets in London to show their support for the Palestinian people.
Today they are marching to Downing Street where the Israeli flag has been plastered on the front of the building. Many feel that this is the UK giving Israel the green light to carry out its bombardment of Gaza.
“Takbir Allahu Akbar”
I’m not surprised, frankly, because they’re always on the wrong side. You know, they never stand with the people. They’re always with the wealthy, the ‘one percent’, the racists. So I’m not surprised. But I am furious that this government is backing up what Israel is doing, because it’s catastrophic.
“Gaza, Gaza don’t you cry, we will never let you die”
Gaza is home to over 2 million people, and Israel has dropped more bombs there in one week than the US did in Afghanistan over its entire deployment there.
Well, I have children myself, and when I see some other family’s children killed, and they have no bodies even, they are burned, they are just all cut to pieces. If you’re fighting even in war – there is rules.
Basically, it’s a massacre that they are doing in Gaza, which nobody can accept.
Even Israeli people, civilians, that have some sense, they would be against it.
And that’s why we are here today.
I saw something that encouraged me and there was a demonstration, before the attack by Hamas, and it was in Jerusalem, and it was Women for Peace and it was an Israeli group of women an Israeli group of women called “Women wage peace” and a Palestinian group of women called “Women of the Sun” and they came together and they said, whatever happens – and this is before the Hamas invasion – just talking about the ongoing atrocities and the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people, and they said we must come together and we must have women at the negotiating table to talk about how we can go forward from this, because things were already -before this ever happened – terrible for Palestinian people.
And as UK government policies gradually infringe on the British public’s right to freedom of speech and right to protest. These people are defiant: they will stand up for human rights and they will not be silenced.
Well, I knew it was probably the only thing I could do that would make some sort of impact on the British government and give encouragement to Palestinians who might hear that there was a massive rally,a massive march in London, and it would have some force also I think the U.N. negotiators are trying to push for a ceasefire and it might encourage them to push harder. This is a fight where everybody is together.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re Muslim, whether you’re Christian, whether you’re Jew. Whether you’re Black, White, Asian, whether you’re Atheist, whether you’re Buddhist, it doesn’t matter. Right and wrong are very clear. There’s an absolute clear understanding that innocent civilians by law are protected. Right?
You cannot bomb phosphorous bombs onto them. You cannot corral them into a tiny space. You cannot drop bombs indiscriminately on hospitals. You can’t have a civilian population in an enclosed space, which you have control over everything for and expect that not to be called a genocide.
The problem is that at the moment, we have in Israel there is the most extreme right-wing ever government that we have there. Which is controlled by settlers, by people which – they benefit from war and they benefit from killing. Because that’s what feeds them.
This was an anti-Zionist, anti-war demonstration, where protesters called for an end to the siege on Gaza, an end to the occupation of Palestine, and an end to the killing of all innocent civilians.