Against Israeli Massacre – and more

Tuesdays aren’t usually a busy day opposite Downing St, but 15th May was an exception. When I arrived a protest by Kurds was still in progress, at the end of a busy day for them protesting against the visit of Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan who they say is a dictator and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Kurdish civilians.

One or two of them were not happy to be photographed, one man in particular complaining to me that I “put people’s faces on-line“.  If you protest you will be photographed, and if Erdogan and the Turkish security services have any interest (as I’m sure they do), you can be sure they will be taking pictures, though probably rather more discretely than me, rather than relying on my rather idiosyncratic selection of images.

People who have a real need to protect their identity but decide to take an active part in protests need to take suitable steps to disguise their appearance, perhaps with face paint and wigs or other disguises which don’t attract the attention of UK police, or with face masks which may, though usually only if worn together with black clothing.

The Kurds soon left and were replaced by people who had come for an emergency protest called after the news that Israeli army snipers had opened fire on unarmed protesters a few hundred yards from the separation wall in Gaza, killing 58 and seriously wounding over 2700.

Many of them had been shot in the back as they ran away from the wall, and it was clear that the snipers were following orders to shoot, and either to kill or seriously maim the protesters, using bullets designed to expand inside the body on impact and cause maximum damage, which are thought to have been supplied from the UK. Most not killed were shot in the legs, leaving many unlikely to walk again.

Among those killed were medics treating the wounded and clearly identified journalists wearing distinctive blue press vests. At that range both would have been clearly identifiable to the snipers.

Videos and reports of these killings horrified the world and were widely condemned internationally, even by many supporters of Israel. Gaza has been under siege by Israel with supplies of most materials including medical supplies only allowed through in very limited quantities, and few of the wounded are likely to be able to receive the level of treatment which would be acceptable in this country, despite the dedicated efforts of medical staff. Many of us were revolted by what we saw on the Internet to donate to give medical aid to Palestine, but actually getting it there is difficult.

Among those who spoke were MPs from Labour, SNP and the only Green MP, Caroline Lucas, and there were also Muslim, Jewish and other speakers, as well as some from the peace movement and Palestinian supporters, as well as journalist Owen Jones and Tariq Ali. Also at the protest were a group of ultra-orthodox Jews opposed to Zionism who view the existence of a Jewish state as an offence against their religion.

Although the protest had been called at short notice, well over a thousand people managed to get to Downing St for the protest on a Tuesday evening.

A few yards away, ignored by most of the large crowd, and behind a line of police stood a small group of Zionists, hurling insults at the crowd which few could hear. They insisted that all those killed were terrorists who deserved to die. I was disgusted but tried to keep calm as I photographed them.

Erdogan, Time To Go
Israeli massacre of protesters
Zionists defend Israeli shootings


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