Thousands gathered in London on ‘Land day’ and the first anniversary of the Great Return March responding to the call of the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB), Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Stop the War coalition, Friend of Al-Aqsa (FOA) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).
Adnan Hmidan, media spokesperson for the PFB stated that this demonstration is in solidarity with Gaza after the last attack and comes at the same time as the anniversary march of the ‘Great March of Return’ organised in Gaza.
Speakers at the rally speakers called for justice for Palestinian people and an end to 12-year-long blockade on Gaza by Israeli state, and also spoke out against attempts to smear criticism of Israel as antisemitic.
Zeid Truscott of the National Union of Students spoke of how student activists had faced attempts to clamp down on campaigning. Other speakers called for activists to make sure the Palestine Solidarity movement kept mobilising people—including for a national PSC demonstration on 11 May.
“We stand here today in solidarity with all those marching in Gaza, who will continue to march until they get their fundamental rights,” the PSC Director Ben Jamal said.
“Exist! Resist! Return!” and “Freedom to Palestine” some placards read.
A group of Jewish people also attended the rally to support the demonstration for Palestinians while a separate small group holding Israeli flags were holding a counter protest.
Great March of Return protests in Gaza
Two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured by Israeli army fire during protests marking the Land Day in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, according to the health ministry.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Palestinians staged mass rallies near Gaza-Israel buffer zone to mark the first anniversary of the ‘Great March of Return‘ protests against the decades-long Israeli occupation.
The protests also commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the Land Day when six people were killed in 1976 during demonstrations against seizure of Arab land in Galilee.
In the run-up to Saturday’s rallies, the Israeli army has deployed numerous tanks and armored vehicles along the buffer zone with the Gaza Strip.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly instructed the army to prepare for the possibility of a “broad” campaign in Gaza.
Nearly 270 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by Israeli army gunfire since Palestinians began holding regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone in March of last year.
Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
Also See: New Yorkers rally in support of Gaza