12 January 2009

Brighton & Hove Gaza Demonstration – One of the largest ever in the city

Today saw the largest demonstration I have ever seen in Brighton, apart from the demonstration over the Iraq War on the day it started. And I’ve lived here 34 years. I counted 1,350 people. Not including those on the sidewalk or who joined later or indeed left early for different reasons.

Well over one and a half thousand people in Brighton and Hove came to demonstrate against the genocide that is taking place in Gaza. And the people who came weren’t just Palestinians or Arabs or leftists but ordinary people disgusted at the bombing of schools and ambulances and clinics. It was a rare and wonderful day. Even the weather was on our side!

The demonstration itself had been organised in less than 5 days and it is a tribute to how people feel that so many turned out to express their feelings.

Unlike the Lebanon demonstration 3 years ago, when the Police swamped the demonstration and intimidated people on the demonstration, the Police today behaved impeccably and there was no trouble of any kind.

At the start of the demonstration firstly a Palestinian student and PSC member spoke about the reasons for the demonstration and then Tony Greenstein, of (J-Big) Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods spoke. At the end of the demonstration, which wound its way slowly – about 2 hours - down the Western Road, past the main Churchill Square shopping centre to the sea front by the Palace Pier, finishing about 3.30 p.m. There were a number of speakers including veteran ex-Labour Councillor Francis Tonks, who despite being over 80 walked the length of the march. Zoe Mars and Ann Hallam of PSC spoke and at the very end George Galloway MP spoke to those remaining.

One thing is clear. Despite all the propaganda, the Israeli ‘hasbarah’ and the BBC’s repetition of the case for Israel 24 hours a day, people haven’t been taken in. Firecrackers which have killed a score of people in 8 years cannot be compared to modern F16 jets that bomb schools, clinics, ambulances and houses. Using phosphorous to burn people alive in order to provide a ‘smokescreen’ is unacceptable in modern civilised society. Ordinary people can see that Israel is a state run by racist barbarians.

Below are just some of the pictures of the demonstration. Enjoy. Next Wednesday at 1.00 p.m. we are holding a demonstration outside the BBC in Queens Road in protest at its complicity in the murderous attack on the Palestinians of Gaza under the title – ‘BBC – Israel’s Media Partner in War Crimes’

Tony Greenstein


  1. Thank you for this informative reporting. It is most encouraging to note, not only that "the Police ... behaved impeccably" but also that your reporting is prepared to give them credit for that. We are also fortunate to have a local e-democracy forum on which such local dimensions of international issues are discussed, at
    http://tinyurl.com/8f86el .

  2. Great turnout from the people down there, just shows the anger and oppositions this war on Gaza has provoked. The campaign for sanctions must be stepped up.

  3. Bravo Tony! In case your readers missed the extraordinary interview this morning with Sir Jeremy Greenstock, here's a link for the reply (unfortunately you'll have to put up with 2 mins. Blair first, but turn the sound down).



    Former senior British diplomat Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who has made direct contact with Hamas as part of his work with the charity Forward Thinking, discusses what can be gained from talking to the militant Islamic organisation.

  4. David,

    yes I'm happy to give the Police credit when they don't behave in a hostile and intimidatory manner. There were no Evidence Gathering Camera teams in evidence, though I understand more undercover cops were still photoing the demonstration.

    Nor was there an accusation, as per 3 years ago, that Palmeria Square had been chosen because it was a Jewish area - which patently it isn't - if anything it is in the heart of Hove's Arab area.

    All in all it was a good day and as Mick says, demonstrates the depth of peoples anger. If Russia had been bombing Georgia in the same way I expect the BBC would have been the first to highlight this and Milliband would have been the first to condemn a breach of western standards.....

  5. Thanks for the report on the Brighton demo, but I'm not happy about one of your sentences.

    'Ordinary people can see that Israel is a state run by barbarians and it would seem peopled, with few exceptions, by racist barbarians.'

    I think that's a bit harsh. There are plenty of exceptions and they include my sister-in-law who's in Machsom watch - women who go to the checkpoints to try to prevent the worst barbaities. We've enough enemies, lets not run down our friends. Let's celebrate them.

  6. Ruth, on reflection I agree. Although I said with 'few exceptions' which unfortunately is all too true the statement was too sweeping and open to misinterpretaton, so I've deleted the last part. There is no doubt that those who have initiated this war of terror are indeed racist barbarians, as I'm sure you will agree!

  7. Bravo for the people of Brighton who will not ignore cruelty and wickedness. Defying what our racist zionist government wants, ie silence and acquiescence in the massacre in Gaza, showed their convictions publicly and I hope to their MPs.

    Congratulations on the demo and now for more boycotts, anti arms manufacture and arms trade with Israel.


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