Bristolians marched in solidarity with Palestinians on Saturday, amidst increasing Israeli violence in Gaza and the West Bank.
Protesters gathered in Castle Park from 14:00 before marching through the city centre, returning to Castle Park before 16:00, where speeches were heard and information stands handed out flyers.
The march, organized on Facebook, was kept lively with many flags, a couple of flares, and loud chants of “Free Free Palestine” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free“. Estimates of numbers attending vary from 500 to 5,000.
The Bristol protest follows weeks of escalating confrontations between Israel and Palestine, with both sides inflicting casualties on the other. However, as with all Israel-Palestine conflict, the latter has borne the brunt of the suffering.
Since Israel began airstrikes earlier this week, 170 Palestinians have been killed, including 47 children.
One of the march organizers, Khadija, said ‘It’s not a conflict: this is oppression. It’s not confusing, it’s not complicated, the situation here is that you have thousands and thousands of Palestinian deaths in comparisons [sic] to the tens of Israeli deaths.’
Organizers called on people to support Boycott, Divest, Sanctions campaigns against Israel.
The date of the march coincides with the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba, the commemoration of the forced removal of 800,000 Palestinians from their homeland when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
It also followed one month on from activist group Palestine Action’s occupation of the roof of the Bristol office of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest privately-owned arms company, in Aztec West.
According to Palestine Action, Elbit Systems’ weapons are deployed against Palestinians in Gaza before being marketed to buyers around the world.