LONDON-AA: Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the Israeli Embassy in central London in solidarity with Palestinian people who are holding large “Great March of Return” and “Palestinian Land Day” rallies across Gaza border Saturday. The rally organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) saw speakers calling for justice for Palestinian people and an end to 12-year-long blockade on Gaza by Israeli state. “We stand here today in solidarity with all those marching in Gaza, who will continue to march until they get their fundamental rights,” the PSC Director Ben Jamal said.
A group of Jewish people also attended the rally to support the demonstration for Palestinians while a separate small group holding Israeli flags were holding a counter protest. The PSC also held demonstrations in many other cities across the U.K., including Newcastle, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham.
Two Palestinians were martyred and dozens injured by Israeli army fire during protests marking the Land Day in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, according to the health ministry. In a statement, the ministry said Nidal Saqr, 17, and Jihad Saad lost their lives east of Gaza City, while another 138 demonstrators were injured – including 24 by live ammunition.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Palestinians staged mass rallies near Gaza-Israel buffer zone to mark the first anniversary of protests against the decades-long Israeli occupation. The protests also commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the Land Day when six people were killed in 1976 during demonstrations against seizure of Arab land in Galilee. In the run-up to Saturday’s rallies, the Israeli army has deployed numerous tanks and armored vehicles along the buffer zone with the Gaza Strip.
Nearly 270 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred by Israeli army gunfire since Palestinians began holding regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone in March of last year.
Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.