Thousands of protesters marched Saturday 14 May 2022 from the BBC to 10 Downing Street in London to commemorate Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and to call for an end to 74 years of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
One year on from Israel’s brutal 11-day bombardment of Gaza which killed 67 children, protesters demanded sanctions on Israel for its ongoing war crimes, illegal occupation, and apartheid policies.
On Wednesday 11 May 2022, Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was the latest victim of Israeli occupation violence. Despite being clearly marked as ‘press’ in her blue flak jacket and helmet, Abu Akleh was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper in what has been condemned as the latest Israeli war crime.
Celebrated as “the voice of Palestine”, protesters carried photos of Abu Akleh as well as 55 printed press jackets to represent the 55 journalists killed by Israel since 2000. Starting outside the BBC, the names of these journalists were displayed in a visual memorial to the journalists who have lost their lives at the hands of the Israeli Occupation Forces.
“The targeting of journalists by Israel is a war crime,” said Shamiul Joarder, Head of Public Affairs at Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA). “Today we are calling for immediate sanctions on Israel”.
There were also a variety of visual props for passers-by to engage with, including props to encourage individuals to boycott Coca-Cola and PUMA, both of which are complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestine. FOA’s #NotInMyFridge campaign highlighted the fact that Coca-Cola operates in Atarot, an illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land, making the multinational corporation complicit in apartheid.
FOA’s #BoycottPUMA campaign called on individuals to boycott the sports brand until it stops sponsoring the Israel Football Association (IFA). IFA has football clubs in illegal Israeli settlements, making PUMA complicit in Israeli apartheid, like Coca-Cola.
Protesters called for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid in Palestine, recognized by many as the ongoing Nakba. The ‘Nakba’ or catastrophe started in 1948 when over 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children were forced to leave their homes to make way for the state of Israel.