Jeremy Corbyn demands freedom for Palestine as thousands march in London

Jeremy Corbyn was among the speakers at a protest attended by thousands in central London to demand freedom for Palestinians.

A large crowd gathered in Hyde Park on the afternoon of Saturday 22 May for a rally in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Protesters held banners, let off fireworks and chanted despite the heavy rain. A Palestinian flag was also placed at the top of a nearby crane.

Organisers from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign estimated that over 180,000 people attended the rally.

“The occupation is the issue”

Corbyn spoke at the end of the event, after speeches from former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and rapper Lowkey.

The former Labour leader said:

Children should not grow up having seen their home demolished by a bomb dropped from the safety of thousands of feet above.

The occupation is the issue, the occupation of the West Bank, the siege of Gaza, they are the issues.

While the ceasefire is a step forward, unless the fundamental issues are addressed, we will be here again.

He was welcomed to the stage to large applause and chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”. He added:

We will be here as long as is it takes until the Palestinian people are free.

We will never give up on the Palestinian people, we will never go away from the Palestinian people and their cause.

Palestine solidarity march – London
Protesters let off coloured smoke (Yui Mok/PA)
‘No justice, no peace’

McDonnell said:

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.

The message is clear, we will not cease our campaign in solidarity until there is justice.

So let’s make it clear, no justice, no peace.

It came after thousands marched through central London from Victoria Embankment on their way to Hyde Park.

They held banners and placards and chanted, blocking off road traffic as they walked.

Palestine solidarity march – London
Banners and placards caused for peace in Gaza (Yui Mok/PA)

Some could be seen wearing costumes, masks and face paint, while others were draped in the Palestinian flag.

Groups of police officers watched on, as people climbed bus stops and lampposts and wrote “Free Palestine” on walls.

Chants of “Israel is a terrorist state” and “we are all Palestinians” could be heard as they marched.

Palestine solidarity march – London
Protesters gather near to the Israeli embassy in Kensington (Ian West/PA)

Among the groups in attendance were branches of the National Education Union and the Stop The War Coalition.

Saturday marked the first full day of ceasefire.

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