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Thursday, Jun 01, 2023

Thousands march in London to mark 75 years of Nakba

Thousands march in London to mark 75 years of Nakba

Over 10,000 people marched in London on Saturday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of The Nakba (The Catastrophe), which saw the expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homeland after the state of Israel was established in 1948.
Crowds gathered at the BBC headquarters in Portland Place and marched to Downing Street, where the office and residence of the British prime minister is located.

The event was organized by several pro-Palestinian organizations across the UK.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign Director Ben Jamal told Arab News that the march was a message of solidarity to the Palestinian people, “marking the Nakba not just as a historical moment and collected trauma rooted in the past but marking it as an ongoing process of colonization, dispossession and militarized oppression.”

Standing outside Downing Street, Jamal called on the British government, as well public and private bodies, that “provide the military, diplomatic, political and financial support that sustains Israel’s system of apartheid, to end their complicity.”

“It is time for a free Palestine,” he said.

The march was led Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zumlot and a group of young Palestinians carrying large lock keys, a symbol of their inalienable right to return under international law.

The 2.7-kilometer march passed through some of the capital’s most popular hubs including Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, grabbing the attention of onlookers as the participants chanted pro-Palestine slogans.

Several protesters were spotted raising their own national flags as an expression of international solidarity, including Morocco, Algeria, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Chile and Pakistan.

“We are very pleased with the turnout today. The demographic is fantastic,” Friends of Al-Aqsa Founder Dr. Ismail Patel told Arab News.

Patel said people of all ages and backgrounds were part of the march, with posters displaying support from organizations representing women of color, trade unions and Muslims.

“It’s a fantastic mix, sending a clear signal to the Israelis that the support for the Palestinians transcends all divisions in Britain,” he said.

The rally was also attended by Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour Party, as well other prominent politicians and activists. They demanded that the British government impose sanctions on Israel for its human rights violations against Palestinians.

The UN has adopted the 75th anniversary of the Nakba this year as an international day of commemoration, and has requested an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

However, Mustafa Al-Dabbagh, a member of the Muslim Association of Britain, told Arab News that the British government had a “unique responsibility” to ensure that Palestinians are living free of occupation as it “was responsible for the declaration that paved the way for the Nakba, the formation of Israel and the apartheid-like regime in Palestine now.”
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