On Friday West London saw the biggest protest outside the Embassy of Israel for many years. It was clear that the police had not wanted a repeat of the demonstration a week before when a group had left the designated area and blocked the road for nearly an hour. A larger pen was in evidence, along with a much larger police presence. When people arrived and it was clear that the plan was to contain the protest and keep the road open. However when upwards of ten thousand people arrived within the space of 45 minutes there was little the authorities could other than admit defeat and allow the rally to take place in the middle of the A315.
While the majority of those in attendance were Muslim an increasing number of London based Jews are turning up to show their disgust at what is being done in their name to the people of Gaza. Many activists with duel Israeli/British nationality were there along with the already well known for their militant and consistent opposition to crimes against the Palestinian people.
One bus that was stranded in the crowd became a mobile platform for protesters. A broad range of people climbed onto its roof to chant and wave banners. Despite causing immense disruption to what is a major road the police did not intervene and the protest remained peaceful and good natured until its end at around 7.30pm when several hundred people marched from Kensington to Hammersmith.
Meanwhile in Gaza things have become increasingly desperate with the death toll now approaching 200. Not a single Israeli has been killed or wounded by the less than effective rocket attacks launched in retaliation by Hamas. The estimated 800 rockets fired my militants cause little more than severe disruption to the people over the border.
The anti war movement over here have responded by calling a national protest in London next Saturday (July 19th). Before then this Tuesday a protest has been called at the BBC (July 15th) against the blatant support seen in the mainstream media in favour of Israel. The BBC in particular has long been accused of pro Israel bias. One such example is a recent online report that claims to focus on the weapons being used in the conflict. The rockets of Hamas were scrutinised in detail while the missiles, F16s, War Ships and white phosphorous of IDF barely get a mention. A few years ago the BBC caused outrage when they were the only national broadcaster which refused to broadcast the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza after Operation Cast Lead which left over 1,400 Gazans dead. The late Tony Benn gave a very memorable interview on the BBC about the issue.
PROTEST Saturday July 19th. Assemble 12 noon at Downing street. March to the Israeli Embassy.