Start of demo
Along the embankment
Shoe attack on Downing St
Trafalgar Sq full to the edges
A day out for families
Things kicking off in Pall Mall en-route to embassy
FIT run for their cowardly lives (Snigger)
Some escaped from Piccadilly choke point
Cops finally allow demo out of Piccadilly underpass
Many many thousands arrive at embassy
3 lines of hurdles then cops then high gates
Many flags were burned
but not this one
The mother of all police kettles brewing
The line advances to sweep demo westwards.
The BBC have shamefully reported the demo as being only 10,000 strong which is so blatantly wrong. I've been in Trafalgar Square when it's not been full right to the edges like it was today and the reliable claims then were 25,000. In the square, there were the usual speeches from the usual politicos and NGOs but it was encouraging to hear that just a few celebs have finally gotten off their arses on this issue. Great respect to Annie Lennox
and Alexie Sayle
for also speaking. Sayle stated that at this moment in time he is ashamed to be Jewish.
I was surprised and like everyone, greatly cheered by the tannoy announcement urging everyone to march onto the Israeli embassy after the speeches. I'd love to know if the police were actually expecting this announcement or not as this is where they seemed underprepared for the numbers of protesters on the streets. Thousands of mostly Moslem youth were at this time trying to run fast along Pall Mall and only a few dozen cops were ahead and desperately trying to form a line across the street to slow and hold them up. A few of the youth just weren't prepared to tolerate this and started lobbing traffic cones and placards at the flimsy line and the cops really started losing it at this stage by lashing out and snatch arresting people. A wonderfully cheering sight was to see all the FIT team looking really scared and running totally paniced away from the crowd! Police reinforcements and express deliveries of their riot gear were brought in to head people off at Hyde Park corner underpass and the march was held up for a long time here. It was quite frustrating that hardly anyone then took the initiative to use easy alternative routes to quickly continue to travel west despite a few lone voices urging everyone that there is more than one road leading to the embassy and that they didn't have to allow themselves to only follow the police designated route. The huge majority just waited and waited until the police finally allowed them to walk at a snail's pace through the underpass. Just a small proportion had meanwhile jumped the 1.5m high fence dividing Piccadilly from Green Park to quickly take the surface way across Hyde Park Corner but even then they just waited at the other side, rejoined the main march and then allowed themselves to be herded along the tightly controlled corridor when they could so easily have formed alternative, uncontrolled and therefore quicker routes to the embassy. I've only just read that some were beaten black and blue in the underpass - it being a perfect ambush and attack location - and I'm just relieved I took the surface route.
The police continued to control and deliberately slow the marchers all the way to the embassy. I reckon they did this partly in order to make people bored and go home early and also to give themselves maximum time to get massive reinforcements ahead and barriers in place around the embassy. I arrived at the embassy myself well ahead of the main body having cut through Hyde Park and there were already a thousand or so demonstrators there. The police had a triple line of hurdles across the entrance to the already high gated road leading to the embassy. But when the many thousands of demonstrators from the main body then joined us and crammed into Kensington High St outside the embassy they seemed to have lost the boldness they had displayed earlier in Pall Mall. To be honest, if anyone had tried to clamber over the triple hurdles, they would have been quickly whacked with batons and pepper sprayed. So a lengthy standoff took place. Many journos seemed to have paid an enterprising restaurant owner on the side of Ken High Street opposite the embassy to use the restaurant upstairs window to get better shots of all the action below. Some of the youths dutifully performed by chucking a few placards and firecrackers and burning several flags to much cheering. One brave youth climbed halfway up a tall smooth lamp post also to much praise. Then the police started assembling a massive block of riot helmeted cops to the east of the protest. After quite a time this block started slowly pushing the protest westwards away from the embassy. I ducked down a side street leading south but some of the youth were baiting the fully riot clad cops down this street by pointlessly chucking placard sticks at them. Suddenly and without warning this line of cops rushed up at full tilt from behind me and violently punched me out of the way. I decided to call it a day then, as from experience, this police baiting achieves absolutely nothing except unnecessary arrests and injuries.
When I finally arrived home, I heard that the Israeli army really were invading Gaza by land and my heart sank. Don't anyone believe for a moment from the posturing by Hamas that the Israeli army will be hammered as they were in Lebanon two years ago. Hezbollah then had the run of Lebanon and it was easy for them to get masses of large weapons into the country through open ports and borders whereas in Palestine all weapons have to be smuggled in through narrow dangerous tunnels from Egypt which itself is remarkably unsupportive towards Palestine. This will be a turkey shoot of the poor Palestinians as they have virtually no place to hide and nowhere safe to retreat to, living as they do in some of the most overcrowded conditions on Earth.
Before preparing this report, I listened to the news and saw how the Israeli zionist Public Relations machine really is so devastatingly slick. Good looking and smartly dressed presenters speaking soothingly perfect English, effortlessly ooze lie after lie after lie including:
"Our operation is purely defensive."
"We don't want to reoccupy the Gazan strip."
"We don't have any interest in conquering Gaza."
"We have fully cooperated with UN and relief agencies."
"We don't see Gazan civilians as our enemies."
"The Palestinians have been attacking us with rockets so why do you [just some of the media] condemn us for retaliating in this way?"
"What is proportionate?"
"Just what occupation are they referring to?"
"There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza."
"Most countries would have shown less constraint than us."
"We are going to extreme lengths to prevent civilian casualties."
To the Palestinians and supporters, I know your resources are tiny by comparison to the millions that Israel invests in its international lie propagation network but you have to do your very best to compete against such professionalism because the way that the statements above are presented really does makes them terribly believable to so many ordinary people who have been brought up unthinkingly on a continuous diet of tabloid reporting. Far too often your version of events is presented by relatively inarticulate speakers spouting barely comprehensible fire and brimstone. This is just such a turnoff off to so many people in this and other countries who - because the Israeli spin has been going on for years - have been conditioned to have only a limited understanding of the true background to the conflict. You have to be able to immediately hit home point for point with really vital but oft forgotten information such as the fact that Hamas was elected in universally recognised fair elections and that the Palestinians have had the large majority of their land stolen decades ago by invading Israelis. Far far too often neither journalists nor even Palestinian interviewees mention such essential facts as these.
To the Israelis, please recognise the comparison I've made above about how some of your actions are similar to some of the actions of your former oppressors the Nazis. Do you really want to be perceived as acting in any way at all like those beasts? Surely not. And try to imagine if someone invaded your house and took over 78% of the rooms and cut off food, electricity and other vital supplies, shot at anyone from your family who protested and your aggressor was continually egged on and massively aided and armed by the biggest bully in the street (the USA) and that no one in the world offers any effective assistance to end such injustice. Do you really think that if this glaringly unjust occupation continued for several decades, you'd never once be tempted to respond with violence during that time? This would try even the patience and calm of Ghandi.
To everyone else, do please remember that we are over here and the slaughter is going on way over there so direct action is not going to be enough on its own for this issue. By all means use your imagination to think up other forms of direct action other than simple street marches. But also you must force yourselves to write to your MP, write to your MEP, write to Gordon Brown , write to Milliband the foreign secretary, write to local and national papers. Full details on how to do this are in the first addition here:
Keep your letters polite, accurate, non hysterical and to the point. Some of the many key points to mention are:
That this conflict originated back in 1948 when we the then occupying British forces hurriedly handed over much of Palestine to the Israelis when we had absolutely no right to do so and that because of this, we should as a nation be working particularly hard to stop the injustice and slaughter that we ourselves kicked off 60 years ago.
That while Israel bangs on about being under attack from the bogey-man of the present day - terrorists - it really is founded on terrorism itself as, leading up to that fateful day (the nakba) in 1948, Israeli activists (terrorists) had been kidnapping and killing British soldiers, stringing them up from trees and booby trapping the bodies with bombs. Double standards.
That Israel is in breach of at least 69 UN resolutions condemning its aggressive behaviour towards its neighbours and the long term theft of land from them. Point out that we invaded Iraq for being in breach of just two UN resolutions. Double standards.
That we continue to sell arms to Israel even though we know that they are using them to illegally invade and attack their neighbours - Palestine and Lebanon - and yet we criticise the Palestinians for smuggling in very low tech weapons through small tunnels with which to defend themselves against far more deadly US and British supplied high tech weaponry. Double standards.
That we are always criticising Middle Eastern countries for being undemocratic, and yet when Hammas was duly elected in elections that were widely recognised as being free and fair, we, the Israelis, the US and much of Europe bitterly condemn the Palestinians for voting in this way. Also contrast the fairness of the Palestinian election with, let's see... the US decisive election in Florida that was so blatantly rigged by Bush's own brother.
That when people are relentlessly brutalised by another race over decades, and attempts by them to right the injustice by more moderate methods fail because the rest of the world offers no support and looks away, should we be so very surprised that they will turn to a more radical leadership such as Hamas? Should we be so very surprised that just a few of the people will have become so full of rage over the killings of their friends and family by Israeli military and illegal settlers that they resort to violence themselves? Double standards.
That all of the American presidents' and politicians' ignoring of the plight of the long suffering Palestinians and, by contrast, their unwavering support and active assistance to Israel as a result of the intense zionist lobbying over the decades should be recognised as the desperately corrosive force that it is throughout the middle east. That the USA's relentless vetoing of dozens of UN security council resolutions against Israel just cannot be tolerated any longer if we wish to live in a just and fair world. That we must use our "special relationship" with America (try not to vomit on the keyboard) to pressurise Barack Obama to be the first president to finally change American foreign policy for the better by for once ignoring the twisted zionist lobby. That doing so would allow Americans to actually see how very one sided and unjust the Israel/Palestine conflict really is and how it is this corrupt foreign policy of theirs that is the root cause of so much global instability and tension throughout the world. That this "Israel can do absolutely no wrong in US eyes" played no small part in triggering the 9/11 attacks and many terrorist attacks since. Do Americans never want to learn from the past?
That with the rapidly approaching disaster of climate change, we as a nation may have to force ourselves to be much more friendly and respectful towards Arabic countries because of their desert land's vast potential for supplying us with renewable energy using Desertec.
Because of our past deplorable behaviour, at this moment in time they'd likely laugh in our faces or make us pay zillions for every grain of sand that we had covered with mirrors.
That the present invasion has much less to do with Israel defending itself as it is do with winning votes in a forthcoming election. Compare this with the planned vote winning effects of Falklands, Somalian, Afghan, Iraq, Lebanon wars etc.
That the root cause of the conflict is not - as Gordon Brown has just said and others keep stating - Israel's right to feel secure from attacks by home-made rockets but Israel's continued theft of Palestinian land and its continuing illegal settlement by zionist religious zealots which can only further fuel the aggression.
That Israel's deliberate blockade of essential supplies to Palestinians causing untold suffering, amounts to collective punishment of a civilian population - internationally outlawed by the Geneva convention.
It's vitally important to tell the self important people that you write to that just politely asking Israel to stop the invasion will achieve absolutely nothing before countless more Palestinians are maimed and murdered as the Israeli regime care not a jot for a brief dip on the international opinion scale. They know that they can always rapidly recover from such criticism using their unstoppable PR machine and with unconditional support from the US. Delays and dithering are just what the Israelis want in order to have the maximum time to further devastate and crush Gaza. Blair, by sitting on the fence for so long during the invasion of Lebanon deliberately gave the Israelis days and days in which to kill 1,100 Lebanese civilians. Him then being appointed as Middle East peace envoy was therefore seen as such a sick joke - not so much like rubbing salt into the wound that he had helped to create, more like sluicing it with concentrated acid.
Insist that Britain and Europe must take IMMEDIATE and EFFECTIVE action against Israel that actually HURTS by implementing straightaway a lasting and total trade ban with Israel. Insist also that Britain must immediately break off diplomatic relations by recalling our own ambassador and staff and sending the Israeli ambassador and all his staff home in disgrace from their nasty fortress in Kensington Palace Green. Israel must be declared a pariah state.
Also point out how unbalanced the reporting of the issue is by nearly all media channels. Ask why the media devote the same amount of coverage to the relatively minor casualties and damage caused by the Palestinian's crappy rockets as they do to the lethal effects of US supplied bombs and missiles on Palestinians. Keep quoting that 100:1 kill statistic - now likely revised upwards. Ask why journalists should get away with meekly accepting unchallenged the Israeli version of events as listed above. Ask why journalists almost invariably never give the public the true background to the conflict - the continued loss of the Palestinian's land and their relentless brutal oppression by the illegal Israeli occupying regime.
Remember too that the zionist PR machine is continually monitoring all media outlets worldwide searching for every little criticism of Israel and then bombarding the complaints department of that media producer claiming the usual anti Semitism. They actually pay zionist students to do this all around the world. For this reason it's vital that we ourselves counteract this torrent of propaganda by monitoring mainstream media reports (yes very painful I know) and sending in our own complaints (look on their websites for email) about unbalanced reporting and shoddy journalism standards. One in particular to complain about is the BBC's Jeremy Bowen who is such a disgrace to his profession.
Mount your own boycott of all Israeli products, read all labels carefully for the origin of products. Fruit, veg and flowers in particular, not just the obvious Jaffa oranges but parsnips, carrots etc are all being imported into Britain having likely been grown on stolen land with stolen water. More important than your own little boycott is to urge your friends to do similar. And far more important than that is to email all the shops and supermarkets telling them that you and all your many friends and relatives won't touch any Israeli produce with an infected bargepole because of the Israeli regime's bestial behaviour and urge the shops that it will be in their own interest to stop buying all Israeli products.
Ok, do keep protesting and remember to write.