Crowds gather in Platt Fields park in solidarity with Palestine to protest against killings and evictions in West Bank
- Hundreds gather in Platt Fields to rasise awareness of crisis in Israel and the occupied territories
- Gorton MP Azfal Khan gives impassioned speech to the large crowd, saying: 'Britain has a moral responsibility for this mess'
- Tensions involve religious suppression by Israeli military during Ramadan and forced eviction of Palestinians in West Bank
Hundreds gathered yesterday in Platt Fields park in Rusholme in solidarity with Palestinians and to commemorate the Nakba—the anniversary of the exodus of Palestinians after the first Palestinian war.
The event was organised by the Manchester branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others such as the Stop The War Coalition and the Bolton and Districts Trades Council.
It comes amid weeks of fighting that has claimed the lives of at least 188 Palestinians, including 55 children and 33 women, in the Gaza Strip. More than 1,200 others have been wounded.
In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces are reported to have killed at least 13 Palestinians.
Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children.
The recent fighting is the culmination of tensions involving religious suppression by the Israeli military during Ramadan and the forced eviction of Palestinians in the West Bank.
He said: “Manchester has an amazing history of standing for oppressed people and that is why I’m proud to be standing here with you.
“As an MP I read thousands of emails expressing their concern for what’s happening in Palestine.
“Britain has a moral responsibility for this mess.
“I visited a UN refugee camp two years ago and I saw the consequences of the Nakba.
“Three generations of Palestinians have grown up in one refugee camp. Why is Israel recognised but not Palestine? That is not acceptable.
“The Palestinians have every right to live. We have to change and challenge the narrative.
“We want peace.”
Labour Rusholme Counillor Ahmed Ali, who was also present at the protest, said: “The response from world leaders has been muted.
“It could have been better but I think the narrative is imprinted in our head to accept the Israelis are the victims and the Palestinians are the perpetrators.
“I grew up in the country in the ’60s and I saw the effect of apartheid. What were seeing now is like the Israeli empire.
“This is a battle of freedom, equality and human rights, it has nothing to do with culture or religion.
“The debate gets clouded because people see it be based on religion.
“We created a state because the Jews were homeless but we need to invest in that investment so that those people can leave there peacefully.
“That’s the issue. It’s about sharing the land.
“There needs to be a one-state solution. The Palestinians are yearning for a free Palestinian state, but in practice I see this being the only solution.”
Protestors then moved on from Platt Fields to Oxford Road towards the city centre, where they merged with other protestors in Piccadilly Gardens.
Throughout the day there was a moderate police presence.