Gaza Protest in Birmingham

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Anger and Frustration as Gaza Death Toll Rises


Tens of thousands of people have turned out across the Midlands to protest about the ongoing atrocities inflicted upon the Palestinian people.


Towns and cities including Birmingham, Walsall, Leicester and Coventry were flooded with masses of protesters calling for an end to the massacre of Gaza at the hands of Israel, in which the death toll has passed well over 1,500, with the majority of them being women and children.


Speaking at the Birmingham protest, Birmingham councillor Waseem Zaffar (Lab, Lozells and East Handsworth) said: “End the siege in Gaza, a clear message from the people of Birmingham. Hundreds standing in solidarity with Palestine.”


Whilst Councillor Mariam Khan (Lab, Washwood Heath) said: “The people of Birmingham don’t agree with what has been happening in Palestine and Gaza. Children are being targeted and I think it is completely unfair and unjust for people to be suffering like that.”


Charity, Palestine Solidarity Campaign projected the flag of Palestine onto the Houses of Parliament. The projected image calls for an end to the massacre in Gaza, and a call for sanctions against Israel in which Hugh Lanning, Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “It is an outrage that the British Government is standing by whilst Israel slaughters Palestinians. The Prime Minister, David Cameron has failed to listen to the voices of hundreds and thousands of British people who have taken to the streets. He has failed to stand up for an occupied people being ruthlessly murdered by an occupying power.


People are really angry that this injustice is continuing despite our ability as a nation to pressure Israel to end the attacks. The Government must not delay in responding to the moral and public demands it faces.”


The celebrity world has also weighed in on the conflict with both the entertainment and sport industry taking sides. Singer Zayn Malik was the latest celebrity to receive a bombardment of hate on Twitter after tweeting his support for Palestine. The One Direction singer sent a late night tweet to his 13 million followers simply stating #FreePalestine. The tweet went on to be retweeted more than 230 thousand times.


This came a day before England cricketer and Birmingham born Moeen Ali was banned from wearing ‘Save Gaza’ and ‘Free Palestine’ wristbands for the remainder of the third test against India by the International Cricket Council. England had cleared the All-Rounder to wear the band on “humanitarian” grounds rather than on political.


However, the ICC issued the following statement, “The ICC equipment and clothing regulations do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match. Moeen Ali was told by the match referee that while he is free to express his views on such causes away from the cricket field, he is not permitted to wear the wristbands on the field of play and warned not to wear the bands again during an international match.”


Zayn wasn’t the first celebrity to tweet about the conflict. Rihanna forced a similar reaction when she posted #FreePalestine via her official account, only to delete it minutes later.


Footballers Joey Barton and Yossi Benayoun had a very public debate on Twitter over the conflict. Barton tweeted, “If this was anybody else but Israel the West would intervene. It cannot continue. Innocent children being slaughtered. This must stop. I agree with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. ‘In the name of humanity, the violence must stop.’


With Benayoun, the current Israeli Football Captain, replying, “Mate things can never changed you have been stupid and you will stay stupid all your life..embarrassing.” Barton replied, “Firstly, you cannot call somebody stupid with such bad grammar. Secondly, you cannot and should not kill innocent children.”


Hollywood actress Penelope Cruz was one of dozens of people that signed an open letter accusing Israel of genocide. The letter stated, “Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians’ homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity, free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing.”

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