Protesters gathered in London on Saturday, 31 March following the massacre of at least 17 Palestinians and the wounding of over 1,400 by Israeli occupation forces on 30 March, Land Day. The occupation forces brutally attacked a mass popular demonstration on the colonial “borders” of the Gaza Strip, the Great March of Return. The demonstration both commemorated Land Day and underlined Palestinian refugees’ commitment and determination to return to their land even after 70 years of forced exile.
In commemoration of Land Day and in protest of the massacre, several organizations, including Victory to the Intifada and the Revolutionary Communist Group, organized a march down Oxford Street in solidarity with the Palestinian people and demanding that British imperialism end its support for Israel. The protest also highlighted corporations and banks that do business with and profit from Zionist violence, apartheid and colonialism, urging a boycott of these institutions.
“We are here to salute the 17 martyrs and thousands of wounded who rose up against occupation and came out to assert their legitimate rights, as we come out to demonstrate today to call on the British to boycott occupation,” said Toby Harberson of Victory to the Intifada. The protest marched by a number of corporations doing business with the occupation, including Marks & Spencer, Boots, Victoria’s Secret, Barclays and HSBC. Following the march, protesters joined in an action outside the Israeli embassy.
The protesters also highlighted their support for Irish political prisoners and the unity of the struggle of the Palestinian and Irish people confronting colonialism, Zionism and imperialism. Easter Sunday marks the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising against British colonialism, an occasion widely commemorated by Irish republicans and their supporters.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network was one of the groups represented in the demonstration. Participants carried Palestinian flags, banners and signs with slogans including “Boycott the occupation,” “Zionism is racism” and “Victory for the Palestinian resistance.” Some carried signs featuring Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani as well as the red banners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Additional events are being organized in the coming days in London in support of Palestine, including a demonstration on Saturday, 7 April as well as several events commemorating Palestinian Prisoners Day. Samidoun is a co-sponsor of a protest on 14 April in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and a talk on 17 April featuring Palestinian leftist writer Khaled Barakat, the international coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat.