Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in London on Saturday to urge the G7 group of industrial powers, meeting in the UK, to back Palestinian rights and the return of Palestinian refugees to areas now comprising the State of Israel.
The protesters marched to Downing Street, the seat of the British government.
Labour lawmaker and former party leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the crowd in the protest organized by the Resist G7 Coalition, Reuters reported.
Corbyn urged G7 leaders to use their summit to take note of the challenges faced by the Palestinian people, along with other topics such as global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“We are coming together because we are united in our support for the Palestinian people,” Corbyn told the crowd.
“We are here to support the Palestinian people whether we are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian or no faith — our unity is a human unity,” he said, calling on the G7 to strive “to end the human rights abuses” all over the world.
Corbyn said the demands by pro-Palestinian activists were to “end the occupation of the West Bank, the withdrawal of all the settlements and an end to the siege of Gaza.”
Israel, supported by Egypt, maintains a blockade of the Gaza Strip which it says is needed to prevent the smuggling of weapons and military equipment into the Palestinian enclave that has been ruled by the Hamas terror group since 2007. Goods are shipped to Israel, inspected and then trucked into Gaza.
Noting that the Labour manifesto in 2019, when the party was under his leadership, had recognized Palestine as a state, Corbyn said “we must stand together for the freedom for the people of Palestine.”
The British government has not formally recognized the Palestinian state.
The demonstration came after last month tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched through London, condemning Israel over a conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip in May. Video shared on social media showed a car whose occupants waved Palestinian flags and dragged an Israeli flag along the road, drawing cheers from the crowds. Photos also showed demonstrators setting an Israeli flag on fire.
Organizers claimed some 180,000 people attended, which would have made it the largest pro-Palestinian demonstration ever held in the UK. It came during the first full day of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after 11 days of fighting during which Palestinians in Gaza fired over 4,000 rockets at Israel, which responded with heavy airstrikes on terrorist infrastructure.
Corbyn also addressed that rally.
The three-day G7 summit, hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to end Sunday.
Non-G-7 nations India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa were invited to attend as guests to bolster the group’s support for fellow democracies.
Leaders were expected to end the confab with a series of promises including vaccinating the world against coronavirus, making huge corporations pay their fair share of taxes and tackling climate change with a blend of technology and money.