London’s Gaza Flotilla Protest
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 31st May, 2010
Several thousand people gathered in Whitehall outside the entrance to Downing Street this afternoon, to voice their anger and disgust at the criminal Israeli assault on the Gaza aid flotilla in international waters. It was impressive how many people turned up at such short notice — an interesting reflection of the power of social networking media, including Twitter. Predictably there were many Palestinian flags held aloft by the crowd, but also many Turkish ones too. There are Turks on board some of the craft in the flotilla and possibly amongst the casualties, though at the time of writing both the number and identity of the dead remain contested. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has rightly condemned the action as ‘state terrorism’ and NATO Ambassadors are going to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow, at Turkey’s request.
The crowd at the London demonstration — which later marched to the Israeli Embassy — clearly felt that the UN Security Council should also meet to discuss the crisis, as is now happening, to discuss this blatant and vicious violation of international law. There were also calls for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from London and revulsion was expressed at the way spokesmen for the Israeli government are portraying the killings as legitimate self-defence. Among the speakers in Whitehall were the veteran radical writer and activist Tariq Ali, Salma Yaqoob of Respect and Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbkekistan and now a human rights campaigner. Most of the speakers called for a trade boycott of Israel and the suspension of the Israeli trade agreement with the European Union. Action not just words are needed to bring Israel to heel.