The Palestinian death toll in Gaza is now over 200, and Israel is warning 100,000 residents of Gaza to evacuate their homes. A large demonstration is organised at 12 noon on Saturday, assembling at Downing St. Ahead of Saturday’s demo, thousands gathered outside the BBC in London to protest against the BBC systematically ignoring and downplaying Palestinian suffering in the name of being ‘neutral’. Jonas and Nathan give their impression of the pro-Palestine demonstration last night.
What an amazing pro-Palestine demonstration today. I don’t know what was better: The average age being 20; the 3,000 people on a Tuesday evening; the anger and militancy of the demonstrators; or the fact that at least a thousand people carried on the demo against the wishes of the police and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Yeah that’s right, a thousand people marched down Oxford Street, broke past an attempted kettle by Hyde Park chanting “pigs are haram” and marched all the way down Edgware Road pulling more people into the demo, until we got to somewhere like Maida Vale. By that point, after like 2 and a half hours of marching, we only had a 100 people, but darn it we smashed it. Let’s make Saturday happen big and wide.
It was a really young protest. I’d say the average age was about 20/21 on the static protest outside the BBC, and younger on the march down Oxford Street and Edgware road – in the main the protesters there were young school students. It’s the only protest I can ever remember that I was in a minority as a white guy. There were a lot of very young women, wearing hijabs.
Many on the demonstration were people who probably have never been on a protest before, or if they have, only about Palestine. The chants were solely around Palestine, and a lack of chants about the rest of the Middle East was notable. As soon as the speakers stopped their chants, usually the first, or most popular chant, other than “Free, free, Palestine” was “allahu Akbar”, which I think shows something about these protests. I had 3 or 4 guys come over to me asking if I was a Muslim, and thanking me for going regardless of my lack of faith. Perhaps they see this as a duty, particularly during Ramadam, which I think goes some way to explaining the size of these demos. At the static protest the biggest cheers were usually for Jews for Justice in Palestine. People were clearly very angry about the BBC’s biased coverage and actually puzzled as to why the coverage was biased.
I think these protests, and their size worldwide, show that the youngest generation are a majority pro-Palestine, and that this could be the political question of the generation.