Protests held across UK in solidarity with Al-Aqsa

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LONDON

Demonstrations were held across the UK on Sunday in solidarity with Palestinian worshippers who were attacked by Israeli soldiers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Organized by the Palestinian Forum in Britain and other groups, people gathered outside Downing Street in London and the city center of Manchester to express their outrage toward the violence committed against Palestinians in Jerusalem.

“We stand here today knowing full well that the occupiers are transgressing against the rights of the Palestinians. What is happening in Palestine today, what is happening in Jerusalem today, is the continuation of illegal occupation. It is the continuation of the illegal theft of land that began in 1948,” the organizers of the march read out a statement.

“We stand here together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine who are facing a grave injustice at the hands of their occupiers. They are defenseless in the face of bullets, tear gas and grenades yet they hold onto their faith and conviction that they are fighting against tyranny and injustice and standing up for their people and others across the world,” they added.

The protesters called on the government to take action against the Israeli government and to condemn the violence against the innocent and defenseless worshippers which included women and children.

The government was also called upon to impose an arms embargo on the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to prevent further casualties against Palestinians civilians.

“Aqsa! Aqsa! Don’t you cry! We will never let you die!” the protesters chanted outside the prime minister’s residence, waving Palestinian flags and holding placards. People turned out in thousands and while observing social distancing rules and wearing masks they portrayed an image of Palestinian unity and solidarity.

“We will demonstrate everyday here outside Downing Street until we see real changes being made,” said one protester who was draped in a Palestinian scarf.

Another attendee said that what is happening in Al-Aqsa is a “human issue and a test of our morality”, adding that the coming days will expose nations in how they will respond to the oppression taking place in Palestine.

This month the Israeli Jerusalem District Court ruled that Palestinian families living in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah must vacate their homes. Up to 60 people, including 17 children are due to be forcibly removed by the authorities in order to make way for the demolition and construction of Israeli settler homes.

Authorities have also attempted to forcefully prevent Ramadan gatherings in and around the mosque and in the last two days, the Al-Aqsa mosque and surrounding areas were scenes of a battleground as Israeli police fired tear gas, stun grenades and steel coated rubber bullets at Palestinian worshippers observing the night prayers.

Tel Aviv’s brutal response has provoked international condemnation across the world with many countries calling on Israel to cease its malign activities and respect international law. Senior UK politicians have also condemned the senseless violence. The government, however, is yet to make a statement.

Over 200 Palestinians have been injured in the last two days of Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa and other occupied areas of East Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock also sustained damage, with windows being shattered and walls riddled with steel coated rubber bullets.

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