As Hamas have not sought to prolong the ceasefire in the Israel/Palestine conflict, citing that Israel have used previous ceasefires to prepare for more attacks, and as the death toll in Gaza has now exceeded 1,000, yesterday a march to the U.S. Consulate in Belfast was organised by the People Before Profit’s Councillor Gerry Carroll.
The march, which began at the gates of the Botanic Park in Belfast and ended outside the U.S Consulate attracted around 1,000 people who then heard from a range of speakers.
Gerry Carroll outlined that the aim of the march on the U.S Consulate was to “point out the absolute disgraceful support that the United States Government has been giving to Israel.”
“These bombs are coming from America and are being dropped on the people of Gaza, the bullets are killing people in the West Bank, and they’re American bullets and are American bombs.”
Gerry Carroll then went on to outline what actions he feels need to be taken in the future. He said that “Israel is not a normal state; Israel is not a democratic state. Israel is a racist, apartheid state, and it needs to be opposed.” He urged people to boycott Israeli goods and stated that “we need to kick out the Israeli ambassador from the South.”
The group of protestors also heard from Raied Al-Wazzan from the Belfast Islamic Centre who thanked the crowds for “supporting our brothers in Palestine” before he went on to say that “the people in this Embassy here they are supporting the terrorism of Israel.”
“Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. They are elected by the Palestinian people, if we like them or not, they are elected people, and they are talking on behalf on the Palestinian people. We always hear from Israel and America, that if you support Hamas you are a terrorist… Well I am a terrorist, and I am proud to be a terrorist.”
Dominic Murray from Unison called for public money to be prevented from “going to people who are implicit in butchering Palestinian people.”
Padraig Mulholland, President of NIPSA talked of ‘sectarian forces’ that want to divide and weaken the movement and urged protestors to build a campaign that isn’t a Catholic or Protestant campaign. Padraig also spoke of the job that now had to be done to “get information into the hands of the people who only get their information from the liars in the BBC.”
Queen’s University Belfast lecturer, Dr Brian Kelly addressed the crowd saying that he had watched the slaughter unfold, day by day, abetted by the most powerful people in the world. As an American citizen he said he felt had a special obligation to attend, as he is unwilling to stand by and watch as the “richest and most powerful nation on the face of the earth ever, aids and abets a murderous, racist, onslaught against some of the most powerless people in the world.”
“Barack Obama has proved himself a willing servant of the empire, an eager servant of empire and a voice for the rich. This is a President who’s not brought peace and the restoration of our rights, but instead has extended the war on terror beyond the wildest dreams of Bush and Cheney.”
Dr Kelly also added that “I believe that some day when the records are known we’ll discover that the highest levels of the US Government were involved in orchestrating this latest campaign over weeks and months with their Israeli counterparts.”
As the demonstration ended it was announced that the movement will continue and that a protest will be held at the BBC at 5PM on Friday 1st August.