City march for Palestine

City march for Palestine

by Charlie Hislop.

20th January saw the third big monthly Peace Protest for Palestine in Southampton take place, with a march by some 300 people through the city centre, followed by speeches in the Guildhall Square.

This was organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and the Muslim Council of Southampton. It was a bigger event than the Vigils that PSC has organised before. The Peace Protest went through Above Bar with people chanting  “Ceasefire Now” and “Stop Bombing Children”.

The protest marked the 25,105 – the number is increasing daily – Palestinians murdered by Israel in the last three months. About 16,000 of those killed are women and children, and some 92% of them are civilians.  And on top of this there are some 7,000 people still buried under the rubble. These are figures released by the Gaza Health ministry, statistics that are confirmed by independent accounts.

Despite mounting international pressure, including being taken to the International Court of Justice, the highest Court in the UN, charged by South Africa for the crime of genocide, Israel has said that it will not stop.

The Speakers at the event were Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Atheist’ They highlighted that what is being done to Gaza is not “a conflict” between two sides. One referred to “an ongoing relentless massacre – a human rights issue that affects everyone who cares about human life.”

In particular speakers highlighted that while the Government and the Labour opposition refuse to condemn the actions of Israel, most of the rest of the world do oppose them, as indicated by votes at the General Council of the United Nations. This opposition includes many members of the general public in the UK, who turn out for ceasefire marches in their hundreds of thousands when they happen almost every fortnight, alongside the mass marches in many cities across the world. Indeed, more than 50 countries have supported South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice.

Other issues were addressed by the speakers, such as the actions that ordinary people can take.  Local councils invest £4.4 billion of their employees pension funds in Israel or companies who support Israel. People were advised to check this with their council employers and trade unions. Speakers also read out lists of products and companies who support Israel so people could choose to boycott them.

It was a very moving experience to see so many people come together and brave the bitter cold to passionately oppose and speak out against the brutal  murder of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Gaza.

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