Hundreds march in Portsmouth in solidarity with Palestine, calling for ceasefire and humanitarian action from UK government

Hundreds took to the streets of Portsmouth this weekend to call for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel–Gaza war.
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The protest, which was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and follows a growing nationwide movement, saw roughly 350 people march from Guildhall Square to the fountain in Commercial Road in the city centre.

Participants held Palestine flags aloft and chanted slogans “stop bombing Gaza”, “free Palestine”, and “in our millions, we are all Palestinians” during the demonstration on Saturday, November 4. A minute of silence was held at 1.00pm and a number of speeches were made throughout the afternoon.

An estimated 350 people marched in Portsmouth on Saturday, November 4 to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.An estimated 350 people marched in Portsmouth on Saturday, November 4 to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.
An estimated 350 people marched in Portsmouth on Saturday, November 4 to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.
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It followed a similar Portsmouth demonstration which took place on Saturday, October 14 and a smaller protest in Guildhall Square on Friday, November 3.

Activists sought to raise awareness of the plight of people living in Gaza, which has faced an onslaught of bombings from Israel in recent weeks. Thousands of civilians have been killed since the conflict began on October 7 when Hamas launched an attack on Israel. Several widespread attacks were carried out where hundreds of people were killed and dozens of hostages were taken

Organiser and Portsmouth and South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign member Mark Sage said that the movement aims to bring about a ceasefire and call upon the government to provide aid as well as renege its support for Israel.

The UK government has supported Israel's right to “defend itself against terrorism.”

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Mark said the turnout represents a great “depth of feeling” for the Palestinian cause.

Mark Sage told The News: “Not only is our government not trying to stop it, they’re still encouraging the Israeli government to do what they want. This is not something that we can ignore, get used to or accept.

“There was a lot of anger at the UK government during the protest - and also at the lack of opposition.”

Tens of thousands of people across the UK - notably in London - have enacted marches and sit-ins in recent days.

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With protests set to continue, Mark stressed that he resents any implication that demonstrations next weekend are disrespectful towards Remembrance Day commemorations. Such plans have been branded “provocative” by prime minister Rishi Sunak and also been criticised by home secretary, and Fareham MP, Suella Braverman.

He added: “These demonstrations are about trying to help victims of war - that should be exactly what remembrance is about.”

Jon Woods, who took part and has also been involved in the large national demonstrations, said: “People are very angry that our government is supporting mass murder in Gaza.

“We think there needs to be a peaceful solution and we need to get justice for Palestine.

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“We got a really good response - people were beeping their horns and giving us thumbs up. It was overwhelmingly positive.

“People are so desperately concerned. Refugee camps are being bombed, ambulances are being bombed - it looks like a city of the dead. We’re very concerned about the humanitarian consequences of all of this.

Jon compared the national movement, in scale, to the anti-war protests ahead of the Iraq War 20 years ago - in which he also took part.