THE MOVEMENT FOR PALESTINE IS HUGE AND IT ISN’T GOING AWAY

20 May 2024 • by Lindsey German – https://www.stopwar.org.uk/

CONTINUED ATTEMPTS TO SHUT DOWN PROTEST WON’T DETER THIS EVER-GROWING MOVEMENT WRITES LINDSEY GERMAN…


It is clearly infuriating the ruling class, the Zionists, the right wing, and all those who support Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza: the movement for Palestine is huge and isn’t going away. So they are still continuing their attempts to shut down protest in any way that they can.

The Telegraph reports that the government is planning to amend the Public Order Act to give the police new powers to ‘shut down pro-Palestinian protests’. It accompanies the report this week by Lord Walney (formerly Labour MP John Woodcock and now ‘independent adviser on political violence and disruption’ who wants to ‘clamp down on the activities of hard-Left groups’.

The plan is to amend the Act to refuse permission for marches to go ahead. One thought is to define disruption to include the impact of regular marches on business, tourism and pedestrians as part of ‘the broader disturbance to Londoners’. These focus on the cost of policing and of the supposed threat to the Jewish community.

It’s really quite a thing looked at in the cold light of day: because protests are large and popular and because they keep happening to deal with an ongoing situation they should be – banned! Imagine if that were said about the pro EU marches in Georgia, or indeed the hostage demos against Netanyahu in Israel. Any attempt to do so by government would rightly be seen as an infringement of democracy.

This is a combination of a right wing authoritarian government which has lost any legitimacy or popular support and so can only pass further legislation in the vain hope that it will stop protest and the Zionist pressure on government and police which uses the smear of antisemitism to try to discredit protest against Israel.

This is at a time when polls show only 8% of people in Britain support Israel continuing its war on Gaza. But these are precisely the people who are welcomed into Downing Street and the Home Office to try to force bans on the demonstrations.

We are seeing how this is playing out already. Another huge demonstration for Palestine on Saturday – at least 250,000 with the usual different components – blocs of trade unionists, Jewish people, students; loads of coaches from outside London which were reported to be filling up quickly; large numbers of the Muslim community but also people from every race and nationality.

Yet they were faced with increasing police restrictions often of a ludicrous nature – moving the assembly point round the corner to a much more difficult place; forcing political stalls to abandon pitches in Oxford Street; preventing placards being given out near the tube. This is just low level harassment which clearly our enemies would like to see increased.

The march faced a small counter demonstration of right wing Zionists which was allowed by the police to assemble at the narrowest point of the route and to be right up against the protestors. While these counter protests are small they have two definite purposes: to intimidate those marching and to attempt to create some sort of incident which can then be blamed on ‘hate marches’. They also aim to harden up their support, which has included far right thugs and Iranian monarchists.

Our marches are political in the sense that they are directed against our government’s policy in the Middle East as well as against what Israel is doing directly. And the opposition to them is intensely political as well. It want to silence criticism over Israel, a position becoming ever more indefensible as the offensive in Rafah rolls on. So let’s be clear: banning these marches is political censorship and it will not stand. We will not stop marching and if they try they will face even bigger opposition than they have so far.20 May 2024 • by Lindsey German