Tyneside leftie blog The Grey Matter has just published this short report, by SWP student activist Beth Staunton, of our Gaza Flotilla protest in Newcastle last week.
The Israeli Defence Force’s scandalously brutal attack on a ship of activists attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, where food and medical supplies are scarce for the occupied Palestinians, sent shockwaves across the international community. The attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which killed nine peace activists, was strongly condemned by such official authorities as the UN Security Council.
Perhaps more significantly, the piracy of this act brought thousands of people across the world out onto the streets to protest against Israel’s terrorism, not least in Newcastle upon Tyne. An impromptu protest organised only a couple of days beforehand by the Tyneside Palestine Solidarity Campaign managed to attract at least 100 people to Monument to voice their outrage.
Speakers included Roger Nettleship, convenor of Tyneside Stop the War, and Mahmoud Kurdi from the Newcastle branch of the Muslim Association of Great Britain. Alex Snowdon, chair of Tyneside PSC, urged people to draw inspiration from the fight against the South Africa apartheid, particularly from the boycott movement, while Ian Pattison from Newcastle Free Education Network spoke for the student contingent at the protest, drawing attention to the efforts of the Newcastle University Campaign Against the Arms Trade group to stop the university’s investment in the arms trade.
The lively demonstration, made colourful and noisy by the display of banners, placards and loud chants of “Viva viva Palestina!” drew together old and young in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians. It was a small taster of what could become a worldwide protest movement, seen even more strongly in the recent demonstration in London which attracted 20,000 people.
Picture: Simon Childs