Determined marchers in Cardiff

Thousands of people across Britain came out to join protests for Palestine on Saturday.

Helen reports, “Around 400 joined a march in Cardiff, that began a rally of 150 Queers for Palestine. The Queer march joined the larger march where we marched down one of the main roads through Cardiff.  We then sat and blocked traffic chanting about Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer and charging them with genocide. 

“The main chant was, ‘We are the people, we won’t the silent, stop the bombing’.

“The march then carried on to Cardiff Central train station which we occupied, chanting, ‘Up, up, liberation, down, down, occupation’.”

Leeds has held a Palestine demo every Saturday for the last four months. This week, Russell reports, “Showed that there is no drop in commitment, or disgust at Israel, as around 1,200 took to the streets to call for a ceasefire.

“The march was a sea of Palestine flags and banners. It was loud and angry as we made our way through the centre of Leeds. At the rally at the end, we heard speeches from the chair of Leeds trades council, a student who had helped organise university walkouts, and an anti-Zionist Jew, among others.”

Around 1,500 protesting in Glasgow heard speakers including professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah who is standing for rector of the University of Glasgow

In his manifesto, Abu-Sittah said he is running  to provide “students the opportunity to declare their opposition to Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza.”

And there were 2,000 on the march in Bradford. Barry reports, “It was organised by three local campaigning groups—Bradford Friends of Palestine, Nation of Al Quds and Bradford Palestine Speakers Corner.

“This was the biggest turnout yet in Bradford and was joined by dynamic contingents from Halifax and Huddersfield. At the rally at the end, speakers emphasised the need to keep up the pressure on the political parties to support a ceasefire.

As well as calls to support the workplace day of action on 8 March, people agreed to join this week’s local boycott events, such as those against Barclays Bank and the military drone tech producer Teledyne, which sells to the Israeli army among others.”

Denis adds, “It felt good to be out on the streets supporting Palestine after the right wing backlash we’ve seen recently.”

Around 600 people joined the “Children’s Ceasefire March” outside the BBC in Media City in Salford.

Children led the demo, flew kites and spoke in solidarity with children in Palestine. The protest marched around the area including past the Imperial War Museum. At the end, children left teddies outside the BBC in a very poignant message to the media.

About 300 people demonstrated in Derby.

A Barclays bank branch was the target in Peckham, south London. Barclays holds over £1 billion in shares and provides over £3 billion in loans and underwriting to nine companies whose weapons, components and military technology are used by Israel. 

South London campaigners said, “Up and down our high street there are businesses making profit from genocide in Gaza and apartheid in Palestine. We say no to complicity. Boycott them! Shut down those who are complicit.” 

Around 300 people marched through the streets of Tower Hamlets in east London.

People came out of their flats and houses to cheer the marchers.

Protester Sara told Socialist Worker that she lost a lot of faith in parliamentary politics following the failed ceasefire vote on Wednesday.

“It was a fiasco,” she said. “It brought shame on all the politicians involved.

“It showed their lack of humanity that they couldn’t come to a conclusion about whether they support a continued genocide or not.”

She added that she’s angry with the Labour Party and Keir Starmer, but not just over Palestine.

“I don’t want the Tories in, but we must be able to criticise Labour.

“I heard about a Labour MP who had received letters from constituents about a ceasefire, and they said they’d ignored them. It just shows that they don’t care what ordinary people want.

“I’m also furious that Labour has dumped their green promises and let down trans and LGBT+ people.”

Maya told Socialist Worker this is one of her first Palestine demos. “I live somewhere where there’s not much going on. But I’ve been watching what’s happening on social media and the news.

“Me and my colleagues talk about it at work as well. It’s never too late to join this movement.”

Protesters marched to Altab Ali Park, stopping several times along the way for speeches. A cavalcade of cars flying Palestinian flags joined the procession halfway through.

Around 200 in Brighton marched to a protest at the L3Harris arms company.

Around 100 people in Nottingham joined a PSC Boycott Barclays protest—which saw the branch occupied.

Neither the Palestine Solidarity Campaign nor Stop the War put out a national call for protests.

The size of this weekend’s protests underlines that it’s important for the main organisers to put out a call for action.

The next national march in London is on 9 March.

Thanks to everyone who sent reports

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