'You are not forgotten': Thousands attend pro-Palestinian protest in Belfast

Participants march along city center, chant slogans, make impassioned speeches

09:06 - 16/10/2023 Monday
File Photo
File Photo

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in the city center of Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, on Sunday to show solidarity with the Palestinians and express their concerns over the recent escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

The rally included a march along Royal Avenue, culminating in a series of impassioned speeches at the Belfast City Hall. The event lasted for about two hours.

The protesters chanted slogans against Israel, and carried Palestinian flags and signs, with some of them reading: "You are not forgotten, you are not abandoned," "From river to the sea Palestine will be free," "Freedom for Palestine," "Sanctions on Israel," and "Stop Arming Israel."

"I am here to show solidarity with Palestinian people and their struggle with the apartheid," Finn, a protester wishing to be identified by his first name only, told Anadolu.

"The latest developments made it clear that Israel has no interest in a peaceful resolution and what they are doing in Gaza and West Bank is a genocidal campaign," he said.

"My message to the Palestinian people is that you are inspiring people from all around the world. Stay strong."

With a personal connection to the region through her Palestinian boyfriend, Mia, another attendee, underscored the urgent need for peace, freedom, and provision of basic necessities to Gazans, who are facing relentless Israeli bombardment and blockade since the Oct. 7 Hamas incursion.

"It's very tough. We're trying to stay in contact with them," Mia said. "But, you know, it's close to my heart. I just think that we're all here to support, and we think that what's going on is terrible. It's unsolicited, and I think that everybody deserves peace," she said.

Donal, another Irish demonstrator, said he stands by the Palestinian people. "I think it is the genocide what Israel has been doing them. We just wanna send them our support," he said.

The demonstration in Belfast was part of a broader series of protests that occurred over the weekend throughout the UK, including cities such as London, Glasgow, and Manchester.

Last week, Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel – a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air.

Hamas said the surprise attack was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.

Israel's response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening living conditions in an area that has endured a crippling siege since 2007, as well as ordering more than 1 million Gazans in the northern strip to evacuate to the southern strip.

#Belfast City Hall
#Northern Ireland
6 months ago