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Thousands in London call for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestine

18-year-old resistance icon Ahed Tamimi tells protesters it ‘was your voice that kept me strong while being in the Israeli prison’

THOUSANDS of activists gathered in central London over the weekend to call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and attacks on Gaza.

Protesters, joined by campaigners across the country,  chanted “free Palestine” and “stop arming Israel, stop bombing Gaza” as they marched from outside the BBC’s HQ to Downing Street.

 

 

The national demonstration – organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Stop the War (StW) –  followed a week-long period of violence, in which at least 25 Palestinians and four Israelis were killed.

Ahed Tamimi, the 18-year-old Palestinian who was arrested in 2017 by Israeli authorities for a physical retaliation on an Israeli soldier over sustained oppression and her cousin being severely injured by a rubber coated steel bullet fired at his head, joined the demonstration.

She thanked the protesters by saying: “It was your voice that kept me strong while being in the Israeli prison. I want to thank you for your support and solidarity, for everything that you are doing to advocate our cause.

“I don’t want to speak today about our suffering. We choose to suffer for freedom and justice. Injustice is everywhere. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Ms Tamimi said she didn’t want to be seen as a victim but instead defined as a freedom fighter.

Speakers also included Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, activist Tariq Ali, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and rapper Lowkey.

Labour shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon told the crowd: “Palestine has the right to exist but sadly that is a right that is increasingly threatened. Palestinians should be able to live free from ever expanding settlements on stolen land.”

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn supported the march by tweeting: “We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of rights and justice to the Palestinian people.”

Football Against Apartheid, the Haredi – from the Orthodox Jewish community – the Muslim Association of Britain and British trade unions also attended the demonstration.

The protest came in advance of “Nakba Day” on May 15, the anniversary of the forcible displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in 1948, resulting in the formation of the state of Israel.

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