November 6, 2023
From Socialist Worker (UK)
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Young woman protesting for Palestine in London raising red flare

Protester in London holding red flare. (Picture: Alisdare Hickson)

Millions of people across the world are rising up against the slaughter in Gaza. Everyone who protests in Britain is part of that global movement, whose strength and potential our rulers will try to downplay.

And most of the media doesn’t tell us what’s happening internationally. But on almost every continent mass movements are seeing protests that are often the largest ever for Palestine.

And many are the biggest against imperialism and war since the US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003.

For example, a million—perhaps two million—people gathered in central Jakarta on Sunday in Indonesia’s biggest display of solidarity with Palestinians since the beginning of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.

There have been small protests in Indonesia previously but this time it was massive. The government and religious authorities approved the demo. Speakers included foreign minister Retno Marsudi. 

But that doesn’t mean it was just routine. People are, looking for ways to hit back at Israel.

Demonstrator Isyana Artharini, told Arab News website, “I think I’m actually powerless as a person, and showing up is the least that I can do.

“When we read history books and wondered how the Holocaust happened, how did people ‘allow’ it? At least for your conscience, don’t be on the side that allows this genocide to happen,” she said. 

Turkish police on Sunday fired tear gas to disperse a pro-Palestinian rally staged outside a military base housing US forces,

The protest outside the Incirlik Air Base in south eastern Turkey was organized by the IHH humanitarian relief fund, which in 2010 led a flotilla to Gaza.

The scale of the protests has forced repressive Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to toughen up his tone over the US and Israel.

He joined a massive rally in Istanbul last month that was possibly 1.5 million-strong. Erdogan called Israel an “occupier” that was acting like a “war criminal.” But he has not cancelled all contracts and treaties with the Zionist state.

And some groups of workers are moving to industrial action for Palestine.

Belgian transport workers’ unions last week called on their members to refuse to handle military equipment being sent to Israel.

A statement from seven unions said, “While genocide is under way in Palestine, workers at various airports in Belgium are seeing arms shipments in the direction of the war zone.”

It added, “We call for an immediate ceasefire and we ask the Belgian government to be consistent and not to tolerate the transit of weapons shipments through Belgian airports. As trade unions, we declare our solidarity with those campaigning for peace.”

And militant action launched by a small group of workers backed by hundreds of supporters in Oakland, California held up the Cape Orlando, a military supply ship bound for Israel last week.


US cities’ mass protests call out Biden

At the heart of imperialism, over 300,000 people poured into Freedom Plaza in Washington DC on Saturday in what was the largest Palestine solidarity demonstration in US history.

Demonstrators marched to the White House, demanding an end to US funding for Israel, and the lifting of the siege of Gaza.

Chants of “Biden, Biden you can’t hide! We charge you with genocide!” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Genocide Joe has got to go!” rang out from the crowd during the march.

Mahdi Bray of the American Muslim Alliance told the vast crowd, “What we want and what we demand is a ceasefire now.”

In his speech to the rally, Brian Becker, executive director of ANSWER, said victory was possible as it was in South Africa. “Forty years ago this month thousands of people came together in Washington DC to say that the racist fascist apartheid regime in South Africa must fall, and we will help it fall, and within a few years, it did fall,” he said.

“We make the change, the change comes from us, and right now sisters and brothers—we are sending a message, a very strong message to Joe Biden: if you stand with genocide we hold you guilty of genocide.”

Palestinian poet Mohammed El-Kurd told Palestine activists, “If they come for you, if they take your job, if they fire you from school, if they expel you, do not think of yourself as a casualty. You are not a casualty, you are fuel for the movement, you are part of the struggle.

“Empire does not reward silence. It will crush us anyway, it will swallow us anyway, we will not sit in the corner quietly as they kill our people.”

Protester Jinane Ennasri, said Joe Biden’s support for Israel has made her rethink voting in the 2024 presidential election. “We thought he would represent us, but he doesn’t,” she said, “and our generation is not afraid to put elected officials in their place,” she said.

Other protests took place in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and dozens of other US cities.


A round up of international protests

Malaysia: Tens of thousands joined protests, including at a football stadium in Terengganu. 

Australia: In Melbourne more than 30,000 marched and in Sydney over 15,000.

Japan: In one of the largest rallies to date, thousands marched on Sunday in Tokyo near the Israeli embassy, calling for an end to Israeli war crimes. They shouted slogans such as “Free Palestine” and “No genocide.”

France: More than 60,000 people in Paris and thousands of others across 30 cities demonstrated for Palestine. Farid, a public transport worker in Paris, said, “Many say this conflict does not affect workers. This is completely false. 

“We should bring these struggles inside our companies so that workers fight collectively against imperialism. We must stop being timid at the union level.”

Canada: Over 40,000 people marched in Toronto on Saturday and in 25 other cities and towns. Protesters condemned the Liberal government and the US for backing Israel.

Germany: Despite repression, some 20,000 marched in Berlin and 30,000 in Dusseldorf.

Elsewhere marchers took to the streets in Senegal, South Africa, Romania, Italy, Chile and Venezuela.




Source: Socialistworker.co.uk