Care workers, families and campaigners march in solidarity with Gaza

Care workers, families and campaigners took to the streets in a peaceful protest on Saturday to show their solidarity with Palestinians suffering in Gaza, and demand an immediate ceasefire. 

Protesters – organised by Greenwich Palestine Action (GPA) – gathered outside the Greenwich Islamic Centre in Plumstead Road to march into Woolwich.

Among the crowds waving Palestinian flags and banners were children and their families, as well as representatives from activist groups including Health Workers for Palestine, Greenwich and Bexley Trade Unions Council,  the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Lewisham Stop the War Coalition.

Dave Putson, branch treasurer for Greenwich, Lewisham and Bexley Unite Communities said: “Saturday was an excellent display of solidarity with Gaza and Palestine. 

“It was led by some fantastic women. 

“It was colourful, vibrant, loud, proud and underpinned with both hope and morality.

“These marches provide hope for humanity and our collective futures.”

Protesters march through Woolwich holding banners and placards which read “free Palestine” (Picture: Steve Eason)

The demonstration aimed to raise awareness of the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement (BDS), to demand a halt to the offensive on Rafah, to call on the UK Government to push for a ceasefire and to stipulate that Israel should comply with the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

Protesters marched into Woolwich and travelled down Powis Street before making their way to a rally on the green outside Tescos. 

Chanting and drumming was led by members of Health Workers for Palestine.

At the rally there were several speakers, activities for children including fabric printing and food and merchandise was on sale in aid of Palestine.

Jewish historian and activist who works at Columbia University in New York, Barnaby Raine, speaks to the crowd during the rally (Picture: Steve Eason)

Nidia Fernandez, GPA organiser said: “Woolwich streets were brought to life with drums and hundreds of people chanting while making their way to a rally enjoyed by entire families, with fantastic speakers, beautiful crafts for the children, delicious Palestinian food and live music.

Speakers included Barnaby Raine, a Jewish historian and activist who works at Columbia University in New York, where there is a large protest encampment, Taby Khan, from Health Workers For Palestine, Shabbir Lakha from Stop The War and Counterfire, Karin Tearle from The Green Party and film-maker, activist and poet, Femi Nylander.

Palestinian GPA representative, Lubna Speitan, also delivered a message to the crowd from her family friends in Gaza.

They said: “You can’t imagine how much your protests against this brutal war on Gaza and against this injustice among Western governments affect us.

“When we see those students calling the words ‘free free Palestine’, we feel we are not alone.

The crowd assembling for the rally in Woolwich holding drums and waving Palestinian flags and banners (Picture: Steve Eason)

“Simply, we are proud of you. Keep going on please.”

The day ended with a performance by Palestinian rapper and spoken word artist, Issac Speitan, also known as Speit.

On Sunday, an Israeli strike killed at least 45 displaced Palestinians in Rafah – near a UN facility in Tal al-Sultan – with hundreds more treated for severe burns, fractures and shrapnel wounds, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Gaza’s ministry of health said at least 36,000 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attacks stands at 1,200 with dozens of people still held captive.

Pictured top: Health Workers for Palestine lead the march through Woolwich (Picture: Steve Eason)

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