Youth organisers led a march in solidarity with Palestinians through Bristol on Saturday, May 22.
Around 200 people gathered at Shah Jalal Mosque in Easton from 14:00 on Saturday, May 22nd before marching along Stapleton Road, through Old Market, Broadmead and towards College Green.
When the march arrived at College Green at 16:00, numbers had more than doubled to around 500 people, who gathered outside City Hall to listen to speeches, mainly from young people.
The first speaker explained the aim of the protest to the crowd:
‘Our aim today is to urge our MPs to come forward and take action against the illegal, barbaric occupation of Palestine’
‘We want justice and accountability for every day of freedom that was stolen by Israel, and for every life that was taken. We want every illegal settlement to be removed. We want a decolonized, free Palestine and we won’t stop until we get this.’
Although speakers were passionate in their denunciation of Israeli hostility, and of the British government’s complicity, all were keen to highlight that they did not hold all Israelis or all Jews responsible.
One speaker drew a large cheer by saying ‘this is not a Muslim or a Jewish or a Christian thing. You do not need a religious background to know this is a problem. You just need human decency.’
The march was loud and colourful, with dozens of flags, including what was touted as the largest Palestine flag in the south west. It was also notable for the number of young people present, many under the age of 16, and families.
Speaking to TBA march organiser Sana said ‘I didn’t expect this but I’m incredibly proud of the youth that have come out today. It’s usually adults, but the youth have shown that they are interested in this cause and what’s going on and they do want to make a difference.’
The march was organised by Sana and her two sisters. Sana explained ‘my sister said “we should organise a protest” and that’s what we started doing. We started contacting a few people to see how it’s done. She led the way and we followed.’
The march follows a similar demo last week in Bristol and large-scale demos across the UK since Israel reignited hostilities with Palestine by attacking the al-Aqsa Mosque on May 10.
Further demos are planned for the coming weeks, and organiser Sana spoke of her desire for supporters to ‘keep raising awareness, keep sharing across all platforms. Make sure Palestine is still being talked about.’