Around a thousand people came to demonstrate at the Israeli embassy in London on Sunday 27 December 2009, the anniversary of the Israeli attack on Gaza. London, UK. 27/12/2009.
Around a thousand people came to demonstrate at the Israeli embassy in London on Sunday 27 December 2009, the anniversary of the Israeli attack on Gaza. They called for an end to the siege of Gaza, justice for the Palestinian people and the trial of Israelis responsible for war crimes, and for Egypt to allow the Gaza peace convoy to proceed.
The protest was called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The Israeli embassy is in a private road and police provided a penned area for the protesters opposite the gated entrance to this on the other side of Kensington High Street. The space was soon filled to overflowing and after a while the demonstration spilled over into the road as well as spreading along it at both ends of the pen.
Police stood in a line in front of the demonstrators, both preventing them from moving forward and protecting them from the traffic which continued to flow, although by the end of the event only around half the roadway was usable.
As well as speakers from the organising groups, there were politicians including Jeremy Corbyn MP, and Palestinians from Gaza. Speakers made clear the terrible conditions faced by those living in Gaza because of the Israeli siege; much needed food, medical supplies and building materials are blocked from entering the country. Volunteers from Britain in the Viva Palestina aid convoy of more than 100 vehicles were due to enter Gaza today, but they were prevented from entering Egypt on Christmas Eve; speakers called for the Egyptian government to let the convoy pass. At least two drivers from the previous aid convoy in July were at the demonstration.
It was a noisy and spirited protest, but the joint efforts of stewards and police prevented things getting out of hand. Police generally kept the temperature low. Protesters who did cross the road were politely asked to return, and one who sat down and refused to move was carried back with reasonable care by smiling officers.
Also taking part in the demonstrations were orthodox Jews from Neturei Karta, who oppose Zionism and regard the Jewish occupation of Palestine as a crime. The organisation was also taking part in similar demonstrations in major cities worldwide, and a delegation of Jewish Rabbis is currently on its way to Gaza to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.