London’s Rally of Love Proves British Home Secretary Wrong as Over a Million March Against Ethnic Cleansing in Gaza

M Ghazali Khan

London: At least a million Londoners, representing different races and ages, have marched in a peace rally from Hyde Park to the US Embassy in Vauxhall, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Waving Palestinian flags and holding placards with various messages and cartoons of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman, protesters chanted slogans: ‘Stop Bombing Gaza,’ ‘Ceasefire now,’ ‘In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians,’ and ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’—a slogan Ms Braverman has tried to criminalise.  

In contrast to Ms Braverman’s claims that these demonstrations, ongoing in different parts of the country for the last few weeks, were ‘marches of hate,’ participants proved that these were, in fact, rallies of love.

Earlier, in an article published in The Times, Ms Braverman went as far as accusing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley of applying a ‘double standard.’ She argued that aggressive right-wing protesters were ‘rightly met with a stern response,’ while ‘pro-Palestinian mobs’ were ‘largely ignored.’

Following Ms Braverman’s attack on Sir Mark Rowley, Rishi Sunak pressured him to ban today’s rally. Thus, today’s demonstration was not only historic for its size but also for the bold stand taken by Sir Rowley in refusing to bow to the Prime Minister’s pressure. According to The Guardian, ‘On Wednesday, the day he was summoned to see Rishi Sunak to explain himself, the commissioner was aware his job may be on the line.

‘By the end of the meeting, the prime minister’s hostile tune had changed and tensions were de-escalating, only for Suella Braverman to again ratchet up tensions with claims of police bias against different protest causes. But she later was forced to clarify the commissioner had her ‘full backing’ after the two met on Friday afternoon, ahead of a ‘complex and challenging situation’ this weekend.’

Protesters’ anger against Israeli barbarism and the killing of innocent civilians in Gaza was visible in the placards and the slogans, as was evident against the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary in the cartoons carried by them.

Pressure is building on Rishi Sunak to sack Suella Braverman. Conservative peer and former co-chair of the conservative party Sayeeda Warsi has called her, ‘dangerous & divisive and not fit for office’ while MPs from her own party have warned Rishi Sunak to dismiss her as soon as possible.

Sayeeda Warsi tweeted: ‘The job of the police is hard enough already without the Home Secretary using it as a platform for her own political ambitions. We all need to say this. The Home Sec, through her rhetoric & culture wars, makes our country unsafe – she is dangerous & divisive and not fit for office.’

A handful of far-right protesters have tried to disturb the protest, and at least 100 of them have been arrested by the police.

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