***image1***10,000 gathered today in Trafalgar Square, which was transformed for one afternoon into a sea of banners, placards and posters demanding Freedom for Palestine and the fall of the Apartheid Wall.
The national rally, organized every year on Nakba Day by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), was a great success, showing clear support by the British in the struggle for justice and freedom for the Palestinian people. For three hours demonstrators from all over Britain listened and cheered the words of a large number of speakers. All of them voicing the same demands: Stop the Apartheid Wall! Free Palestine! Free Iraq! All of the speakers condemned not only Israel but the American and British governments for their collective crimes as leaders in the era of New Colonialism.
Jamal Jumaâ, the coordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, that in the Words of Carol Regan, chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK, “is inspiring us all over the world with its resistance”, evoked the history of the Palestinian struggle against an the Zionist project and its ongoing crimes since the Nakba, the “catastrophe” of the Palestinian people in 1948, that is commemorated all over the world on the 15th of May. He remembered the tragedy of the refugees, the full occupation of Palestine in â67, the massacres of Sabra and Shatila, the first Intifada, Oslo and todays crimes and Apartheid projects. However, “nobody and nothing has stopped the determination of the Palestinian people to struggle for their rights”.
Jamal Jumaâ continued by asking the British people to tear down the Wall of Silence and bring the message of the people struggling against the Apartheid Wall to London:
“We call upon you to support us to Tear Down the Apartheid Wall! to Stop the Occupation! and to Stop the ethnic cleansing!
Boycott Israel and pose sanctions on the Israeli Apartheid Regime!”
Mona al-Farra (Palestinian Health Workers Committees), the second speaker from Palestine, spoke directly from the heart of Rafah, targeted daily by helicopters, tanks and bulldozers. In the last 24 hours 1500 refugees have lost their homes a second time at the hands of the Israeli army. She talked about the plight of her people and affirmed once again for whoever might have doubts that “the right of return is not up for negotiations.”
Afif Safieh, the head of the Palestinian delegation in the UK brought the spirit of these two testimonies to a point by saying that “the Palestinian people is still unbowed and struggling – this is our victory!”
Speakers on the stage came from all sectors of British society. Many British MPs, celebrities and activists in the social movements and Trade Unions expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
Carolyn Lucas (MEP, Green Party) ensured the Palestinian people that “we will build an international movement as there was an international movement that made South African apartheid fall. We are building it here today, as well as in the many boycott campaigns all over the world.”
Anrew Murrey, representing the British Anti-War movement, underlined that peace and justice in the Middle East are indivisible. “They are bound together as well by the heroic resistance of both, the Palestinian and the Iraqi people.”
Anas Al-Tilkriti from the Muslim Association of Britain pointed out that “we are living in strange times where justice means segregation, liberation has nothing to do with the freedom of the people and democracy is monopolized by the West and has the features of torture and humiliation.” He concluded that it is time to follow the will of the people of Britain and the first step in that is the end of Tony Blair’s government and his politics.
After a contribution of London music bands, the crowd marched to Number 10 Downing Street to ask that Tony Blair to step down and the British government to change its politics. Betty Hunter, the general Secretary of the PSC, closed the day by insisting once again on the responsibility of the British government in Palestine and Iraq. She asked for concrete actions against Israel’s politics and underlined the legitimacy of the resistance fighting the Occupation, the Apartheid Wall and the settlements for an independent Palestinian state. “Our solidarity stands and will continue to stand with this resistance.”