by New Worker
HUNDREDS of protesters assembled in Whitehall, Westminster, opposite Downing Street last Saturday to demand that the British government put pressure on Israel to end the siege of Gaza immediately.
The event – along with hundreds of similar events around the globs – also commemorated the Palestinian Nakba, or Great Catastrophe, in 1948 when the state of Israel was founded and Palestinians were violently driven out of their homes and their land was taken from them at gunpoint.
Palestinian refugees, 60 years after their dispossession, still hope to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours, and they continue to demand the right to do so.
The event was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and supported by the British Muslim Initiative, Stop the War, War of Want, CND and the unions Unite, PCS, CWS and Unison.
There were speeches from Professor Karma Nablusi, Dave Randall, Andy Slaughter MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Jenny Tonge Reem Kehaim, Jody McIntyre and others.
Many spoke of the hopes raised by the uprisings in Egypt and other Arab countries and by the concord reached by Hamas and Fatah.
And there were calls for volunteers to join the next aid flotilla to Gaza.
A small group of Israeli nationalists tried to stage a counter demonstration on the opposite side of the road, by the gates to Downing Street, waving blue-on-white Star of David flags.
But pro-Palestinian demonstrators joined them with Palestinian flags and soon outnumbered them. Police moved to intervene but although there were heated verbal exchanges the incident passed off peacefully.