Sunday, May 23, 2021

Anti-Israel Protests Take Place In UK, France

Israeli flag dragged through London street as thousands rally in European cities

Thousands of people attended pro-Palestinian rallies on Saturday in Britain, France and elsewhere, during which they condemned Israel over its recent fighting with the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Video shared on social media showed a car driving past the London demonstration as the occupants waved Palestinian flags and dragged an Israeli flag along the road behind the vehicle, drawing cheers from the crowds.

The demonstrations came during the first full day of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after 11 days of fighting during which Palestinians in Gaza fired over 4,000 rockets at Israel, which responded with heavy airstrikes on terrorist infrastructure.

In London, over 180,000 people attended a march and rally, making it the largest pro-Palestinian demonstration the country has ever seen according to organizers from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Among those who addressed the crowd were former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, a lawmaker for the party.

McDonnell told the crowd: “Yes, a ceasefire has been negotiated and we welcome a ceasefire. But let’s be clear, there will be no ceasefire in our campaign to boycott, disinvest and sanction the Israeli apartheid state.”

One protester was seen holding a banner with an image of Jesus bearing the cross and a slogan reading “Don’t let them do the same thing again today.”

A similar demonstration in London last weekend, as the fighting was still raging, saw some protesters also carry openly antisemitic banners, though organizers asked those attending not to bring signs that equated between Israel, Zionism, and the Nazis, the Jewish News reported.

However, speaker Tariq Ali, an activist acquaintance of Corbyn, reportedly criticized right-wing Israelis, telling the crowd, “They have learnt nothing from what happened to them in Europe. Nothing.”

More protests in support of the Palestinians were held in other UK cities, including Manchester, Bristol, Peterborough, and Nottingham, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Across the Channel, several thousand people marched in Paris and other French cities in support of Palestinians.

The Paris demonstration was restricted to a rally at the Place de la Republique. Last weekend, thousands of activists defied a ban on a similar demonstration to march in the capital.

The CGT trade union said up to 4,000 people attended the Paris rally.

The capital marchers shouted slogans such as “Palestine will live, Palestine will win”, “Israel assassin, Macron accomplice” and “We are all Palestinians.”

Bertrand Heilbronn, president of the France Palestine Solidarity Association, which organized the Paris rally and other demonstrations, told AFP the ceasefire had not resolved anything.

“This fight concerns all those who are attached to the values of justice, dignity and law,” he said.

Other protests took place in cities around France.

Regional officials said 1,100 people marched in the southeast city of Lyon, as many as on the previous weekend.

In the northern city of Lille, organizers said around 1,000 attended a rally while police put the number at 650.

Other protests were held in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, as well as Toulouse and Montpellier in the south.

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