Thousands took to the streets of London on Saturday to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and demand an end to Israel's brutal occupation.
Ahed Tamimi—the 18-year-old Palestinian activist who became a global protest icon after she was imprisoned for slapping Israeli soldiers outside of her home in the occupied West Bank—joined Saturday's march and delivered a speech to demonstrators:
— Ahmed Kaballo (@AhmedKaballo) May 11, 2019
Members of the U.K. Labour Party also joined or backed the demonstration, which was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Stop the War Coalition, and other groups.
"We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of rights and justice to the Palestinian people."
—Jeremy Corbyn, U.K. Labour Leader
"Palestine has the right to exist but sadly that is a right that is increasingly threatened," said Labour MP Richard Burgeon. "Palestinians should be able to live free from ever expanding settlements on stolen land."
The London march took place just a week after an Israeli assault on Gaza killed over 20 Palestinians, including two pregnant women and two infants.
On Friday, as Al Jazeera reported, Israeli forces killed one Palestinian and injured dozens more during anti-occupation demonstrations.
As we move past 10 Downing Street, thousands are chanting “stop arming #Israel, stop bombing #Gaza!” The UK government must end its complicity in the oppression of the Palestinian people! #ExistResistReturn pic.twitter.com/8I7jxe5VIx
— PSC (@PSCupdates) May 11, 2019
— Stop the War (@STWuk) May 11, 2019
Ahead of Friday's marches, U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote a lengthy Facebook post expressing support for the demonstrators, calling for an end to British arms sales to Israel, and denouncing Prime Minister Theresa May's government for its "deafening" silence in the face of Israel's attacks on Palestinians.
"We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of rights and justice to the Palestinian people," Corbyn wrote. "The silence of many governments, including our own, has been deafening. The U.K. government should instead unequivocally condemn the killing of demonstrators—including children, paramedics, and journalists—and other civilians, and freeze arms sales to Israel."
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Read Corbyn's full post:
We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of rights and justice to the Palestinian people.
The Labour Party is united in condemning the ongoing human rights abuses by Israeli forces, including the shooting of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza—most of them refugees or families of refugees—demanding their rights.
Last week's escalation of violence, during raids on Gaza, killing 25 Palestinians, and four Israelis, is both distressing and dangerous—and a reminder of the risk that full-scale conflict can return at any time.
The silence of many governments, including our own, has been deafening. The U.K. government should instead unequivocally condemn the killing of demonstrators—including children, paramedics, and journalists—and other civilians, and freeze arms sales to Israel.
We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for their rights, supported by Israeli peace and justice campaigners like B'tselem and Gush Shalom.
A sustainable peace that delivers peace, justice, and security to both Palestinians and Israelis is a necessity and an interest that we all share.
Peace cannot be achieved while the illegal occupation and settlement of Palestinian land continues, along with the multiple human rights abuses faced by Palestinians on a daily basis and actions of the Israeli government in flagrant disregard of international law.
If President Trump's Middle East plan is, as expected, an attempt to bury the Palestinians' right to a viable state alongside Israel, we will call on our government and the international community to reject it decisively.
No peace plan can succeed at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people.
That's why a Labour government will recognize a Palestinian state and press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations, aimed at achieving a lasting settlement based on U.N. resolutions, international law, and justice that has been too long denied.