Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

People march through Central London during a pro-Palestinian rally and a protest against Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip in United Kingdom on May 22, 2021. A cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas reached with Egypt mediation took effect at 2 a.m. Friday. (Photo: David Cliff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Nearly 200,000 Gather in London for History-Making Demonstration of Solidarity With Palestinians

"This movement is growing every single day," said the Muslim Association of Britain. 

Julia Conley

Nearly 200,000 people gathered in London Saturday for what organizers said was one of the largest demonstrations of solidarity with Palestinians in the United Kingdom's history.

Organizers with the Stop The War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Muslim Association of Britain had planned the protest before Hamas and Israel reached a ceasefire that began early Friday after an 11-day bombing campaign targeting the Gaza Strip.

The attacks killed more than 230 Palestinians including dozens of children. Rockets launched by Hamas killed 12 Israelis, according to authorities. 

The groups went ahead with the demonstration despite the ceasefire—which was brokered by diplomats from Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations—noting that "Palestinians in Gaza still face a 15-year long siege that entraps them and violates all of their human rights."

"Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to face a brutal military occupation, including restrictions on movement, home demolitions, and the enforcement of military law on the civilian population," organizers said in a statement. "Palestinian citizens of Israel are still subject to over 65 laws that discriminate against them and render them second class citizens, and Palestinians in exile are still denied their right to return home."

The organizers expected roughly 150,000 people to take part in the solidarity march, but an estimated 180,000 showed up.

"This movement is growing every single day," tweeted the Muslim Association of Britain.

Participants marched from Victoria Embankment to Hyde Park, chanting slogans including "Free Palestine!" and "No Justice, No Peace!"

Chants of "Boris Johnson, shame on you!" were also heard as the demonstrators demanded the U.K. end its complicity in Israel's violent policies. As The Independent reported Saturday, equipment produced in the U.K. was used by the Israel Defense Forces in the most recent bombardment campaign.  

Former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell was among the speakers who addressed the huge crowd at Hyde Park. 

"Yes, a ceasefire has been negotiated and we welcome a ceasefire," said McDonnell. "But let's be clear, there will be no ceasefire in our campaign to boycott, disinvest, and sanction the Israeli apartheid state. The message is clear, we will not cease our campaign in solidarity until there is justice. So let's make it clear, no justice, no peace."

Demonstrators also gathered in other places including Paris, Dublin, and cities across the United States.

"Israel's system of apartheid and ethnic cleansing cannot continue," organizers of the historic London march said. "We can't stop just because Israel has temporarily stopped bombing Gaza. We must campaign and protest until the Palestinian people enjoy what is their birth right: freedom, justice and equality in their historic homeland."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Amazon Workers to Protest 'Corporate Law-Breaker' CEO Jassy, Demanding End to Union-Busting

"If Jassy comes to New York he should come to bargain a contract with Amazon workers, not bluster or practice union-busting."

Julia Conley ·


90+ Groups Warn 'Kids Online Safety Act' Could Have 'Damaging' Effects

"Congress needs to pass real laws that rein in the abuses of Big Tech and protect everyone's privacy and human rights rather than using kids as pawns to advance poorly drafted legislation in order to score political points," said one critic.

Jessica Corbett ·


'No F*cking Excuse': Outrage in Houston Over Officials' Late Notice of Boil Water Alert

"Would have been nice to know BEFORE my little girl showered, drank water from the tap, and brushed her teeth this evening," said one mother after authorities took at least six hours to notify more than 2 million residents of the advisory.

Brett Wilkins ·


Inspired by Starbucks Organizing Wins, Peet's Coffee Workers File for Union Elections

"We deserve a say in how our workplace is run and we deserve to be fairly compensated for the value we create," said one Peet's employee.

Jake Johnson ·


Rev. Barber Breaks Down Why Democrats Must Engage With Low-Wealth Voters

In future elections, said the co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, Democrats must "focus clearly and intensely on poor and low-wealth voters who tend to, when they vote, vote progressive if they're targeted."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo