Thousands of demonstrators converged on central London on Saturday afternoon in protest against what their high-pitched slogans screamed the “massacre of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli bombers”. The sea of protesters flowing through the busy thoroughfares of London included people of all ages, color, creed and faith who carried placards calling for immediate ceasefire. Flags of various countries and social groups were seen fluttering. Many protesters, on the call from The Stop the War coalition, had brought old shoes and left them for Gordon Brown when the march passed Downing Street “in the spirit of Iraqi journalist Muntazer Al-Zaidi”. Protests were also held in other UK cities.
An Islamist group, the Followers of Ahlulsunnah Al Jamal, on Friday organised a protest march from the Central Mosque in Regent’s Park to the US embassy. Their placards declared: “Shariah for Palestine”, “United Nations go to Hell — Islam is the Only Solution” and “Hands off Muslims”.
Since the Israeli offensive on Gaza began last week, there have been daily protests outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington, west London, where protesters have forced the closure of nearby streets. A rally was held outside the Egyptian embassy in Mayfair on Friday to call for the opening of the Gaza-Egypt border, allowing the delivery of more humanitarian supplies. Singer Annie Lennox, former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, comedian Alexei Sayle and members of the Palestinian solidarity groups, various Muslim organisations and the Stop the War Coalition besides several MPs joined the four-hour long protest march from Embankment to Trafalgar Square. M. Ziauddin reports.