Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/562/6754
100,000+ on Gaza protests
The mass demonstration on 10 January against the attacks on Gaza showed an escalation in size and anger. It also showed deepening political opposition, particularly of young people to this brutal war, siege and occupation. Over 100,000 demonstrators, at least double the number on the previous week's demonstration filled the streets and marched past the Israeli embassy.
Many demonstrators were determined not just to march in opposition but to act to stop the bloodshed. This was reflected in the enthusiastic response to the call by the Socialist Party and International Socialist Resistance for mass action by workers through the trade unions and by young people through protests and walkouts in schools, colleges and universities.
Protests at London colleges and schools will take place on Friday 16 January.
Protesters crowded around the Socialist Party and ISR stalls before the march began, for a street meeting putting forward a socialist solution to the cycle of war in the Middle East. Speakers from the Socialist Party and ISR condemned the military attacks backed by US imperialism on the imprisoned population of Gaza. They explained that we cannot trust the world's capitalist governments, corrupt repressive Arab regimes or the United Nations to secure a lasting peaceful solution to conflicts in the region. Many of the audience agreed that it is policies of putting profit, wealth and power before the interests of workers and the poor that cause the violence.
Our leaflets and placards putting forward a socialist programme - the need for mass struggle to liberate the peoples of the Middle East from capitalism and imperialism by building independent mass organisations based on the working class and poor, were read and displayed all over the demonstration.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched behind the red banners of ISR and Socialist Students on our contingent chanting: "1,2,3,4 stop the bombing, stop the war, 5,6,7,8 mass struggle, demonstrate", "end the siege of Gaza now!" and "Gordon Brown hear us say, anti war movement here to stay!". Around 500 copies of The Socialist were sold.
Much of the weekend's television press coverage of the demonstration ignored the scale of it and focused on the confrontations between protesters and riot police at the Israeli embassy. A more provocative, confrontational attitude of the police towards the recent anti-war demonstrations is evident. Our well stewarded contingent marched loudly but safely past the embassy despite the lack of space between protesters, steel barriers and riot police.
- In Coventry on 12 January, 500 people attended the protest on Gaza that the Socialist Party organised. 100 copies of The Socialist were sold and hundreds of pounds raised for our fighting fund. Dozens of people expressed an interest in joining the Socialist Party.
- In Caenarfon, members of Bangor University Socialist Students attended a 50-strong vigil. This follows a 100-strong demonstration around Bangor on 3 January. We talked to other organisations there to discuss plans for further protests and demonstrations in the Gwynedd area along with advertising our upcoming public meeting about this humanitarian disaster.
Drew Turner and Iain Dalton
In The Socialist 14 January 2009:
War and occupation
Socialist Party editorial
Vote for Robbie Segal
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party feature