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'From river to sea': Thousands attend latest pro-Palestine rally in London

October 22, 2023 at 9:15 am

London witnessed another massive pro-Palestine demonstration on Saturday as 300,000 people took to the streets to express their solidarity.

Aiming to raise awareness about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a sea of demonstrators filled the British capital’s streets throughout the demonstration, which began at noon from the Marble Arch, one of London’s iconic landmarks and continued through the heart of the city.

In a passionate expression of support for Palestinians, many in the diverse crowd held placards displaying messages including “Stop Bombing Gaza,” “Stop Apartheid State Israel,” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free,” while the Palestinian flag was prominently displayed.

The rally was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in collaboration with the groups Friends of Al-Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Its route took the demonstrators through Park Lane, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly, and Trafalgar Square before culminating at Whitehall.

The event took place against a backdrop of heightened communal tensions in London, which necessitated increased police presence in certain areas of the city.

Protesters and speakers voiced their concerns about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, emphasizing the importance of raising awareness and calling for peace and justice in the region.

“For decades, the Palestinian people have endured tremendous suffering, violence, and injustice. It’s our moral obligation to raise our voices and demand a just and lasting resolution to this long-standing conflict,” a protester named Neil told Anadolu.

“We stand here in solidarity with the Palestinian people because we believe in the universal values of human rights. We believe in the right to self-determination, the right to live free from fear, and the right to pursue a life of dignity,” said another, Dane.

The conflict in Gaza, under Israeli bombardment and blockade since Oct. 7, began when Palestinian group Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. Hamas said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

At least 4,385 Palestinians, including 1,756 children, have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza, while the figure stands at more than 1,400 people in Israel.

Earlier on Saturday, a humanitarian convoy of 20 trucks began to enter the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, the first since the armed conflict broke out between Israel and Hamas on 7 October.

READ: Al-Aqsa Flood: Dealing with the aftermath