Pro-Palestine rally in Bournemouth Square calling for an end to Israeli military operation

Around 150 people attended the demonstration on Saturday

Pro-Palestine protesters gathered in Bournemouth Square on Saturday to call for an end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Around 150 people attended the demonstration from noon on Saturday 10th February, hosted by the Dorset Palestine Solidarity Campaign, calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Local speakers talked about the history of the Israeli occupation and their recent actions. The “Red Choir”, a local a cappella group, sang and members stood in silence for hours as a demonstration of mourning and solidarity for those killed.

A few police officers were present, watching the crowd, and talking to protestors.

Israel’s military operations in Gaza were triggered when Hamas killed around 1,200 Israeli civilians on October 7. The Israeli military response has flattened northern Gaza and driven 85 per cent of the population from their homes, resulting in a spiralling humanitarian crisis.

Six members of the Bournemouth Socialist Workers Student Society and other students were in attendance. It said “we feel Israel, which is a racist apartheid state, is committing genocide against the people of Palestine with the full support of the USA, UK and other western governments.

“We come out to demos to show our support for the innocent people of Palestine who have been living under occupation for over 50 years.”

The Bournemouth Socialist Workers Student Society said it has “never had any issues from the police” and that it was “really good to see so much support from people.”

It described the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s (BCP) response as “milquetoast”.

“We have held demos next to Talbot and Lansdowne campus and not had any difficulties from the uni. We have held meetings to educate people about the history of Israel and Palestine and the uni has made us provide a lot more details than we usually need to but not had anything cancelled.”

Speaking about the importance of boycotts, it said that individuals “only have to look share prices to see that they work. International boycotts were one of the driving forces that ended south African apartheid and they can work for Palestine.”

Speaking about how people can get involved they said: “Turn up to demonstrations, social media posts aren’t enough, show our support in numbers on the street. Boycott companies in support of Israel. Email your MP to demand a ceasefire. Educate yourself! The conflict goes back much further than October 7th, with its roots caused by British imperialism… educate your friends and family.”

Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres described the level of civilian death as “unparalleled and unprecedented“, compared to any conflict since 2017, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Oxfam also noted that the daily death rate of civilians in Gaza has been higher than any other 21st century conflict, stating “at least 28,000 people have been killed, 70 per cent of whom are women and children. Over half of Gaza’s homes destroyed or damaged. Every university has been deliberately destroyed. Hospitals, schools and shelters have been targeted.”

The protest lasted several hours and ended peacefully.

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