On the Palestine march in London (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Over 100,000 people joined the sixth national demonstration in London on Saturday against the Israeli mass murder and destruction in Gaza.

Marchers were sickened by the daily evidence that Israel has stepped up the bombing and ethnic cleansing after the end of the brief truce. And many were disgusted—although not surprised—that the US vetoed a resolution on Friday at the United Nations calling for a ceasefire. Britain refused to support the motion.

Some of those marching have been on all the national protests and local ones as well. But there are still new forces turning out. Vinny, a taxi driver from Kent, said, “I missed the first few protests but thought I better do my bit. I can’t watch the news—it is so annoying and upsetting. Every day there is another horror story. 

“Obviously there needs to be a ceasefire, but that isn’t going to bring back the thousands of dead people. There has to be something else. The Palestinians need to get more than ruins, they need a country of their own.”

People are looking for ways that the Palestinians can win and there’s anger at the official “opposition” in parliament

Sumi, a shop worker, said, “To be honest I don’t know what else we should do apart from keep marching. It doesn’t seem enough, but at least we are not being quiet while there is a genocide going on.

“There is literally no point to the Labour Party. They make no difference at all. It seems to me that all the politicians are racist and simply don’t care if Muslims are killed.”

Protester Chrissy told Socialist Worker that she was horrified that Israel’s assault on Gaza is continuing, but added that “no one can give into hopelessness.” “This is not the time for politeness,” she said. “This is not the time to sit quietly. The only way we can stop this is if we never go quiet and if we are disruptive.”

Sarah, who had joined the protest with Chrissy, said there was nothing that could have kept her away from the protests. “I saw a video of a little girl in Gaza screaming for her mother. It lit a fire in me. I’m so angry,” she said.

Both Chrissy and Sarah said they watched the UN vote with horror. “I knew they would veto”, said Chrissy, “but that doesn’t make it less shocking.” 

Sarah hit back at Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu—who said criticism of Israeli war crimes was “antisemitic.” “It’s so dangerous the Israeli state is trying to use claims of antisemitism so they can keep on killing,” said Sarah.

“I’ve also seen how other Israeli politicians have been calling Palestinians Nazis. It’s so disgusting and offensive to all those who died in the Holocaust.” 

University student Farah said, “We need to keep going and be disruptive. My university is trying to shut down debate. They say we can’t chant, ‘From the river to the sea,’ because it’s antisemitic—but they don’t know what it means.”

Shimi, a textile worker from Medway, said that the continuing Israeli assault is “all about money and power” and asked, “Where are the Arab leaders?” “People at work have told me there’s no point in protesting,” Shimi said. “But I think they are wrong.

“We’ve shut down London five times. There has to be a point where the government has to think that they’ve had enough and listen to us.”

Those who marched are giving a powerful example. It is not time to “move on”, to slacken the pace, to blunt the militancy—or to shut down for Christmas.

The Israelis are carrying through the logic of genocide, in full view. Mass national marches—and local ones too—remain crucial. But the sense of revolt has to spread to every layer of society. 

Every workplace, school and university should be turned into a hub of resistance that can put pressure on the government to stop arming Israel and stop backing the slaughter in Gaza. 

Free Palestine organising assembly, Mon 11 Dec, 7pm, Core Clapton, 161 Northwood Road, London E5 8RL. Speakers include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Palestinian author Ghada Karmi, South African freedom fighter Ronnie Kasrils, Lindsey German from the Stop The War Coalition, Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett, anti-Zionist Jewish activist Sophia Beach and Neha Shah, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign vice chair.

‘Climate and Palestine are part of same fight’ say protesters 

Around 200 people joined a protest outside BP headquarters in London on Saturday. It was part of a day of action following Cop28 which saw 30 protests across Britain.

Protester Francis explained that she feels “angry and scared” about the future of humanity. “How the hell did anyone think that Dubai was a suitable place to hold Cop when everyone knows the UAE is a major producer of oil?” she asked.

“The UAE’s oil deals before Cop and then the conference’s focus on maintaining fossil fuels shows the process is a farce filled with hypocrisy.”

Francis added that she thinks that every climate activist should support the Palestinian struggle.

Several activists held signs that read, “Climate activists for a free Palestine,” and, “Climate justice not colonialism.” 

Protesters also chanted, “Gaza, Gaza don’t you cry, we will never let you die.” Some later joined the Palestine march. Speakers said that climate change and war were both symptoms of a capitalist system.

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