International Al Quds Day was marked in London yesterday with five double-decker buses, two trucks and over 60 cars driving around the city’s monuments waving Palestinian flags.
Al Quds Day is usually marked in London on the last weekend of Ramadan with a huge march, but because of the coronavirus pandemic this year the organisers decided to do things differently.
“We did have permission to do a demonstration this year but we didn’t want to risk the well being of our community,” said Massoud Shadjareh, from the Islamic Human Rights Commission which organised the event. “We have got all these buses open top, we are going to be gathering with our friends from the Jewish community, Christian community, and all others. There are somewhere between 50-100 cars with flags on them. We are going right the way through London.”
He added: “We are not going to be silenced and the Palestinians will not be forgotten. That is the message we are giving towards those supporting war crimes and stealing the land of the Palestinians, and the fact is that this is an event that you see Muslims, Jews, Christians and people of no faith coming together under one banner – standing for justice for Palestinians.”
In the UK the commemorations are taking place at a time when UK-Palestine relations are at an all-time low after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared his opposition to the International Criminal Court investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
However, Johnson’s comments did not reflect the sentiments expressed on the streets of London yesterday.
“One does not have to be Jewish to realise what the Zionists are doing. What the state of Israel is doing is nothing to do with Judaism,” one Jewish protester said.
Pro Israel lobbies have attempted for years to shut down the Al Quds Day commemorations with Conservative London mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, campaigning to stop the annual event if he is elected.
Bailey has said he opposes the idea of an anti-Israel march through the capital each year, and has said “it’s unnecessary, it doesn’t need to happen – it sends the wrong messages.”
Meanwhile, The Islamic Human Rights Commission is urging people to fly the Palestinian flag from their homes, cars and religious centres during the last 10 days of Ramadan.