SEVERAL THOUSAND people demonstrated in London on 16 May, to mark the 61st anniversary of the Palestinian 'Naqba' (catastrophe). The event was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Palestinian Forum in Britain and CND.
Those present condemned the continuing blockade of the Gaza strip that is causing extreme suffering, and the lack of progress towards a Palestinian state.
Unfortunately, not one of the numerous platform speakers called for independent workers' action in Palestine, Israel, Egypt and internationally to break the blockade and sanctions and to advance the Palestinians' cause. Also, as has become normal at key anti-war events, none of them advocated a socialist alternative.
On two occasions the crowd was even asked by platform speakers to cheer right-wing religious figureheads: CND's Bruce Kent asked the rally to cheer the Pope for his 'peace' message during his recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian representative in the UK asked for a big cheer for Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister and leader of Hamas in Gaza.
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