Thousands have demonstrated in central London to demand an end to the “unprecedented attacks” against the Palestinian people at the hands of Israel.
Marching from Portland Place to Whitehall, a diverse crowd chanted “Palestine will be free” and called for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, while holding banners calling on the UK to stop arming Israel, as part of a demonstration organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop the War Coalition, among others.
Protesters gathered next to the cenotaph to hear speeches from the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) representative, union officials, MPs and campaigners.
Ahed Tamimi, who became a symbol of resistance for the Palestinian people after she was jailed for slapping soldiers outside her home in the West Bank, took to the stage and said she refused to be defined as a victim, but instead a freedom fighter.
Richard Burgeon, the Labour MP, said: “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.”
The protest was timed to coincide with the 1948 Palestinian exodus in which hundreds of thousands were forcibly displaced from their homes during the 1948 and 1967 wars that resulted from the state of Israel being created.