Thousands marched through central London in support of Palestinians on May 22 after 11 days of conflict saw Israeli strikes kill at least 248 people in Gaza, according to health officials, and Hamas rockets kill at least 12 in Israel.
The organizers, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, estimated that 180,000 people were in attendance. The march set off from Victoria Embankment and ended in Hyde Park, where crowds heard from various speakers, including former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
The activist group called on the United Kingdom to implement sanctions and cut military supplies to Israel, while also condemning the forcible removal of Palestinians from homes in Sheikh Jarrah. “This violence is part and parcel of Israel’s regime of institutionalized racist discrimination against the whole of the Palestinian population, amounting to the crime of apartheid,” the group wrote on Facebook.
At least 66 children were among those killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and two children were killed by rocket fire in Israel, the Israeli military said.
Israel drew criticism for the scale of its bombardment on Gaza, which saw damage to at least 30 health facilities, according to the World Health Organisation.
High-rise residential buildings, offices of multiple news media agencies including the Associated Press, water lines, roadways, and thousands of homes were also damaged. The United Nations confirmed that 19 children who attend UNRWA schools were killed, and said more than 70,000 Gaza residents had been displaced.
Israel defended its actions, saying Hamas was using civilian infrastructure to launch rockets, turning those sites into military targets. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday, May 21, said Hamas had launched more than 4,340 rockets toward Israel since Monday, May 7, and had fired them indiscriminately toward Israeli civilians. Credit: @SaffinaEllahi1 via Storyful