November 12, 2023
From World Socialist Web Site

Over 800,000 people march in London demanding ceasefire

A section of the million-strong march in London, November 11, 2023. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

In a powerful rebuke to the ruling classes of every major imperialist power, huge global protests against the genocide in Gaza continued into the weekend. In London, a massive march of at least 800,000 people, although some estimates place the figure at over one million, took place on Saturday.

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Metropolitan Police ludicrously claimed that 300,000 people marched, a figure dutifully cited by the BBC, Reuters and others. Aerial footage of the densely packed route shows a sea of people, in the largest demonstration in two decades, since one-and-a-half million marched against the Iraq war in 2003. The march was made up overwhelmingly of young people.

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The enormous protest in London was a resounding rebuke to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Sunak and Braverman denounced the rally earlier in the week, with Sunak claiming that Saturday’s planned protest was not just “disrespectful” but, “offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today.”

Signs at the London rally, November 11, 2023. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

The protest coincided with Armistice Day in the UK, which commemorates World War I, the first major imperialist conflict for the redivision of the world, which ended with the deaths of some 20 million human beings.

Protesters march in opposition to UK backing of Israeli war crimes. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

While Saturday’s march calling for a ceasefire in Gaza would seem to be a fitting tribute to commemorate the somber holiday, Braverman, appealing to fascists, who would later make an appearance at the rally, labeled the demonstration a “hate march.” In addition to calling for it to be banned, Braverman said that police were “too soft” on “pro-Palestinian mobs.”

In fact, the only violence on the day was clashes between the police and a few hundred fascist counter-demonstrators demanding access to the Cenotaph war memorial and unsuccessfully trying to mount attacks on the march.

Top sign reads, “Keir Starmer supports War Crimes,” while bottom signs reads, “Stop the Genocide!!!” London, November 11, 2023. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

The march was a sea of Palestinian flags and home-made banners, including many denouncing Labour Party leader Keir Starmer for supporting Israel. Over 250 arrests were made. The Metropolitan Police initially stated that the overwhelming majority were right-wing thugs, however, later in the evening police confirmed about 150 of those arrested were “pro-Palestinian” protesters.

Police reported “no issues” with London march, stating that it moved along the prescribed route.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak lied through his teeth by denouncing “violent, wholly unacceptable scenes we have seen from English Defence League and associated groups and Hamas sympathisers attending the National March for Palestine.” He was predictably backed by Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper focusing on “appalling cases of antisemitic hate, intimidation, and support for terrorist groups.”

Israeli forces target hospital buildings, patients and healthcare workers in Gaza

In the face of mass popular opposition, Israeli military forces, with full backing of the London, Washington and Berlin continue to commit daily war crimes against the residents of Gaza.

On Friday, healthcare workers, doctors and nurses in London held a powerful protest demanding a ceasefire in an effort to save their Gazan colleagues.

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On Saturday, the Gaza Health Ministry issued a statement confirming it cannot release an updated death toll at this time because workers cannot accurately count the dead and wounded, due to the relentless Israel Defense Force targeting of healthcare workers at al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza City.

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In a message relayed to major media organizations on Saturday the Ministry said, “As a result of the intense bombardment, the Ministry of Health was not able to accurately tall the number of dead and wounded.”

In their last update on Friday, the Health Ministry confirmed the Palestinian death toll had passed 11,000. On Saturday, Defense for Children-Palestine reported that at least “4,506 Palestinian children” had been killed by Israeli air and ground forces since October 7, with “an additional 1,500 Palestinian children” reported missing, “most of them likely dead under the rubble.”

DCI-Palestine noted that there would “no update to the number of Palestinian fatalities today as Israeli forces are besieging hospitals and cut telecommunications” and that the, “current number of Palestinian child fatalities in Gaza is unknown.”

In a harrowing interview with Al Jazeera, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, al-Shifa Hosptial’s director, confirmed operations at al-Shifa had been suspended because IDF ground forces are targeting al-Shifas’ buildings, and persons moving inside them.

“One member of a medical crew who tried to reach the incubator to lend a helping hand to the babies born inside was shot and killed,” he relayed to Al Jazeera. “We lost a baby in the incubator, we also lost a young man in the intensive care unit.”

Gaza Deputy Health Minister Youssef Abu al-Reesh, who is inside al-Shifa, told Al Jazeera that “39 newborns in the incubators, those babies are fighting against death,” after all the power and generators were shut off.”

In an audio recording posted by Doctors with Borders, also known by its French name, MĂ©decins Sans FrontiĂšres (MSF), Dr. Mohammed Obeid, a surgeon at al-Shifa, described an Israeli sniper murdering patients.

“We’re on the fourth floor, there’s a sniper who attacked four patients inside the hospital. One of them has a gunshot wound directly in his neck, and he is a quadriplegic, and the other one was shot in the abdomen.

“Some of the people who go outside the hospital, they want to go to the South. [Israel] bombed them, they bombed their family, in al-Shifa hospital, today and in the morning.”

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Dr. Obeid confirmed that at least two neonatal, that is newborn children, had died since the hospital lost power.

MSF released a follow-up statement Saturday afternoon confirming that al-Shifa Hospital had “been hit several times, including the maternity and outpatient departments, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries.” A previous MSF statement noted, “our staff are witnessing people being shot at as they attempt to flee.”

Global protests against Gaza genocide

This is the fifth week in a row that millions of people of every ethnicity and religion, including none, have demonstrated against Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign, backed militarily, politically, and monetarily by the US-NATO axis. This burgeoning anti-war movement comprises workers and youth in every country, including thousands of Jewish people, who are rejecting the libelous slander that opposition to the Zionist-fascist genocide in Gaza is “antisemitic,” or synonymous with supporting Hamas.

Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags as they protest Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign against Gaza, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Saturday, November 11, 2023. [AP Photo/ Alvaro Barrientos]

While over 800,000 marched in London on Saturday, massive demonstrations and protests occurred in other major cites around the world, including New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, Karachi, and Barcelona.

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In Cape Town, South Africa, tens of of thousands marched in the streets of the capital in support of Palestine. Protesters waved the flag of Palestine, and chanted, “1, 2, 3, 4, occupation has got to go, 5 6 7 8, Israel is a racist state,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

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Throughout Europe, major protests drawing tens of thousands of people occurred in dozens of cities. In Paris some 50,000 people marched to the Place de la Republique.

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In a memorial to the over 40 journalists that have been killed in targeted strikes by the IDF, protesters in Paris staged a memorial featuring the names and photographs of the slain journalists. Thousands of people carried Palestinian flags and home made signs calling for an end to the genocide and denouncing US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as war criminals.

In Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, tens of thousands protested against the slaughter.

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Similar figures were seen in Dublin, Ireland, where thousands of workers marched with their family’s against the Israeli occupation and demanded a ceasefire. Pointing to the numerous war crimes committed by the IDF, one protester held a hand made “bingo card” listing Israeli war crimes, included, but was not limited to, “bombing of residential buildings, cutting off electricity, food, water, gas, collective punishment, bombing hospitals, forced transfer

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Thousands marched in Barcelona, Spain where workers demanded an end to “impunity for war crimes, apartheid and the massacre of the Palestinian people.”

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The World Socialist Web Site will be updating this post throughout the weekend with on-the-ground reports from around the world.

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Israel’s genocide in Gaza and the resurgence of imperialist barbarism

In the face of mass protests involving millions of people throughout the world, the Israeli government is escalating its genocidal assault on Gaza.

A Palestinian man mourns over the body of his relative who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, in the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

Throughout the day Friday, Israel bombed and burned hospitals in Gaza City, which is being invaded by Israeli forces. Israel attacked six hospitals, including two children’s hospitals, in the span of 24 hours.

The head of Al-Shifa Hospital, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, told Al Jazeera, “This day was a day of war on hospitals.” This included the direct strike on the front gate of Al-Shifa hospital, where thousands of refugees are sheltering. Videos shared online show the use of white phosphorus against the hospital, a blatant violation of international law.

The actions of the Netanyahu regime have the active support and are being coordinated with the US-NATO powers, and in particular the Biden administration, which repeatedly and insistently rejects a ceasefire and any limits or conditions on Netanyahu’s actions.

This past week, US President Joe Biden declared that there is “no prospect” of a ceasefire. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reiterated that there were no “red lines” regarding the killing of civilians by Israel. “That is still the case,” Kirby said. “It’s also true that the airstrikes continue, and it’s also true that civilians are dying in those airstrikes.”

Calls for a ceasefire have been rejected by the entire political establishment, including and not surprisingly the despicable political fraudster, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

The events of the past month are radicalizing millions of people throughout the world, which has found expression in the mass demonstrations against Israel’s genocide. The development of this movement requires an understanding of the underlying causes of the imperialist atrocity.

The universal support by US and NATO for the homicidal actions of the Israeli regime is an extension and deepening of 30 years of unending war, spearheaded by the United States. US imperialism and the NATO alliance saw the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990-91 as an opportunity to utilize its unrivaled military force to reimpose shackles on the former colonial world.

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Thousands of workers and youth participate in global protests against Gaza genocide

Workers and youth around the globe continue to stand against Israel’s ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people, which is being overseen, supplied and directed by US imperialism and its allies. Massive protests encompassing millions of people around the world continued to erupt in major cities, universities and outside major war suppliers on Friday.

A section of the rally at UC-Riverside on November 8, 2023. [Photo: SEP-US/WSWS]

Over a month of Israeli war crimes have sickened and imprinted themselves on the consciousness of an entire generation. Through the internet and social media, millions have broken through the official lies proffered by the Israeli government, its allies, the mainstream press and television networks used to justify the 75 year occupation and current genocidal campaign.

As of this writing, major protests are occurring, or are scheduled for this weekend, in major cities around the world.

In New York City Friday night, thousands of people gathered at Columbus Circle in Manhattan and marched outside the New York Public Library. Protests chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and condemned the role played by the New York Times in covering up Israel’s genocide in Gaza as they passed by the newspaper’s building.

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Brandeis and Columbia universities suspend pro-Palestinian student groups

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) opposes and condemns the decision by Columbia University and Brandeis University to disaffiliate pro-Palestinian student organizations as an unacceptable attack on the democratic rights of the entire student body and the working class.

Palestinian supporters protest at Columbia University, Thursday, October 12, 2023, in New York. [AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura]

After far-right Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned the Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) in the state university system, Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, on Monday became the first private university to ban the chapter from campus. Echoing the rhetoric of both the Israeli government and figures like DeSantis, the university claimed that the student group “openly supports Hamas, a terrorist organization.”

Brandeis University President Ronald Liebowitz published an opinion piece in the Boston Globe the same day calling on the administrators of higher educational institutions across the US to suppress any pro-Palestinian sentiment on campuses. He libeled students and faculty opposed to the US-backed genocide being carried out by Israel in Gaza as celebrating “the barbaric killing of Jews just because they are Jews” and wrote that universities “should confront antisemitism on campus” and pull funding from all organizations not fully backing imperialist barbarism.

On Wednesday, Harvard University Chabad President Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi called on the university to ban the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), which has over 20,000 followers on Instagram and has faced relentless attacks since October 7 for its support of Palestinian resistance to oppression.

On Thursday, at Brown University 20 students were arrested for staging a sit-in protest at the University Hall main building. Hundreds of students reportedly sang and chanted in solidarity outside as the students were loaded into prisoner transport vans by police.

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