Campaigners hold a ‘dying protest’ over Gaza

PEACEFUL PROTEST ... a Free Palestine rally outside South Shields Town Hall.
PEACEFUL PROTEST ... a Free Palestine rally outside South Shields Town Hall.

HUNDREDS of peace campaigners led a ‘dying protest’ in South Tyneside to call for an end to the violent conflict in Gaza.

Pro-Palestine supporters marched from Ocean Road up Fowler Street to South Shields Town Hall to show their solidarity with those who have lost their lives in the conflict.

Free Palestine rally

Free Palestine rally

Cries of ‘free, free Palestine’ were heard outside the town hall while supporters carrying thought-provoking placards, with messages such as ‘It’s not about religion, it’s about humanity’ and ‘Stop the bombing, stop the killing’.

More than 200 people then fell silent as they lay on their backs for the dying protest, symbolic of the growing death toll in the war-torn region.

The rally was organised by the newly-formed South Tyneside Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

People of all ages and faiths turned out to show their support for the group, which is demanding an end to the bloodshed which has already seen more than 1,800 Palestinians killed and a further 9,370 injured during Israeli attacks.

Peaceful protest

Peaceful protest

Organiser Lalon Amin hit out at South Tyneside councillors for not joining the protest held outside the steps of the Town Hall.

He said: “Why do the politicians sit in the Town Hall and not join us? They do not come to the steps of the Town Hall, we will not come to the steps of the ballot box to vote for them.

“This is a humanitarian problem. It’s up to the good people all over the world to stand shoulder to shoulder and show we will not be silenced.

“We can say we stand together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

Fellow organiser Abbey Muquith added: “We all support the end of the war, we all want peace.

“Nearly 2,000 people have been killed, buildings have been destroyed. And for what?

“We should all aim for a fair and just world, especially in Palestine.”

Bernadette Askins, from South Tyneside Churches Together, added: “I have friends who are out in Palestine. So I know first hand what it is like there. This has been going on for 50 years.

“It is like a concentration camp there. The killing has to stop and we have to work for peace.”

Protesters called on the British Government to speak out over the conflict and help bring it to an end.

Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi yesterday resigned over David Cameron’s stance on the issue.

In a resignation letter, she said she could no longer support Government policy on Gaza.

Last month about 200 people, mainly members of the borough’s Muslim community, held a similar protest outside the town hall, standing together in a call for peace in a region ravaged by war for decades.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris