Around 1,000 pro-Palestinian activists marched through central London on Friday to call for justice for the Palestinian people.
The annual al-Quds day march started at Portland Place outside the BBC headquarters and climaxed outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square.
The march was organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission and was supported by a variety of Muslim and non-Muslim pro-Palestinian organisations.
This year’s march came as peace talks between the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank and Israel are currently ongoing in the United States.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “Only the other day the Israelis passed new legislation to ethnically cleanse 35 villages and the next day they want to sit around a table and talk peace. It really is outrageous.
“I can’t really find the right words. The fact that people are so stupid to think that the state of Israel is going to have peace with the Palestinians who they have been oppressing all this time. And what makes it worse is the person bringing it together is the US. Americans are instrumental in the oppression of the Palestinians.”
Yacov Weisz, of Rabbis for Palestine, added: “The peace talks are just a big mistake – everyone knows there will be no two-state solution – Zionism does not account for what happened in 1948 and as long as this is not accounted for there will never be peace.”
The march started off with a heavy police presence to the bemusement of many protestors. However, in past years the protest has been targeted by the English Defence League and Iranian dissidents. The original idea for the al Quds march on the last Friday of Ramadan came from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.
Numbers were down on previous years when 5,000 people would regularly turn up for the march. It is thought that many sunnis no longer attend al Quds day because they perceive it to be an Iranian or Shia event amid sectarian tensions in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Nevertheless, many sunnis did attend the event and both Hamas and Hezbollah flags were seen representing the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance against Israel.
One protestor said: “We’ve come to show our solidarity and support with the Palestinian people and to show that were against the oppression the Palestinian people are facing.”
Another said: “We must stand as a united front against oppression across the world; whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims – everyone’s our brother and sister in humanity and together we must all together take a stand against oppression and injustice across the world.”