Hundreds of Portsmouth protesters show solidarity with Palestine amid Gaza tensions

PROTESTERS have spoken of their ‘heavy’ hearts after the repeated killings of innocent Palestinians.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 7:00 am

Tensions between Palestine and Israel have boiled over in the past month, with hundreds of airstrikes being carried out in Gaza.

According to the BBC, at least 53 Palestinians and six Israelis have been killed since Monday – including 14 Palestinian children.

In Portsmouth, a protest was held yesterday evening in Guildhall Square, where people from across the city gathered to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

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Anass Khalil speaking at the pro-Palestine protest in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. Picture: David George

Roughly 100 people attended the protest, from Muslims to Christians and others appalled by the violence seen on the news.

Speakers took to the steps of the Guildhall one-by-one to voice their thoughts on the conflict.

One of those was Noor Shihadeh, 21 from Portsmouth, who believes we all have a duty to stand up for those who are being oppressed.

He said: ‘I’m really pleased with how many people turned out for the protest – it’s amazing to see so many people standing in solidarity.

Protesters in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, showing solidarity with Palestinians amid the ongoing Gaza conflict. Picture: David George

‘Seeing what is happening over there makes me feel so infuriated. We are basically powerless, so the only way we can try and make a difference is by protesting.

‘In London there are protests happening every other day, so we need to keep up the momentum.’

Another speaker, Anass Khalil, led a passionate chant of ‘free Palestine’ from protesters.

He said: ‘I’m half Middle-Eastern and all of my friends and family are Arabic.

‘All human beings should have a connection to this; what we’re witnessing is nothing short of ethnic cleansing.

‘We all have to speak up about it and seeing everyone standing together like this is really refreshing.’

Azra Khatun, 26 from Portsmouth, said there is strong value to presistent protesting.

With Eid on the horizon, she added that it’s tough to celebrate when atrocities are being committed around the world.

Azra said: ‘My heart is so heavy, knowing that something like this is happening during a holy month.

‘We have seen with movements like Black Lives Matter and Reclaim These Streets that protesting can and does make a difference.

‘We have to make enough noise to be heard.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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