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VIGILS and protests took place across northern England on Tuesday as part of nationwide demonstrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Arabs that accompanied the creation of Israel.
The protests were also a response to Israeli military attacks on civilians demonstrating in Gaza and the West Bank, which have left more than 100 people dead and thousands injured by live ammunition, shrapnel and tear gas over recent weeks. Monday’s youngest victim was an eight-month-old baby.
In Manchester, hundreds of people demonstrated, occupying the city centre branch of the HSBC bank, which invests in firms supplying arms to Israel, and staging a “die-in.”
Protesters also staged a vigil in St Peter’s Square, then marched to Manchester University, where they unfurled a rooftop banner condemning the university’s investment in weapons manufacturers selling to Israel.
Such firms include Israel Aerospace Industries, which produced drones that were used during Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014.
Adie Mormech, one of the organisers of the Manchester protests, said: “While hundreds of us had a sit-in on Oxford Road, the speeches, music, singing were all very powerful, and we read out the names of those killed on Monday, whose deaths we will not allow to be in vain.
“Most poignant of all were the voices of Palestinians of the Manchester community, who told us they will never leave Palestine and they will never forget.”
Across the Pennines in the small West Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge, 40 people staged a vigil, which began with the reading of a moving poem from Palestine.
Protests are continuing in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, where thousands of people have taken part in a series of demonstrations dubbed the Great Return March, demanding that Palestinians be allowed to return to the communities from which they were driven in 1948.
Evictions and land seizures by Israel continue even today.
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