Palestinian flag to be flown over Town Hall

Crowds at a previous demonstration in Preston Flag Market
Crowds at a previous demonstration in Preston Flag Market
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The Palestinian flag is to fly over Preston Town Hall as a mark of solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Leaders will raise the flag on Friday evening after councillors approved a request from campaign group Children of the Ghetto.

It will be the first time the Palestinian flag has flown above the building, and its symbolism was described as “monumental”.

Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: “We are flying the flag in solidarity with the people of Gaza who are locked in a bitter and long lasting conflict with Israel.

“As well as the military conflict, there is also a blockade that is having a devastating effect on the people living in Gaza, causing unnecessary hardship and misery.

“By flying the flag we can raise awareness of the suffering of the people of Gaza and have empathy for them.

“Over 600 men, women and children have been killed. World leaders must intervene to stop this dreadful conflict.

“Obviously, we don’t condone violence and there is wrong on both sides of this particular conflict.

“Our hope is that there is a ceasefire and then for dialogue to try and somehow see a way through towards a lasting peace.”

The flag will be raised at 5pm on Friday, and will remain in place until 9am on Monday.

Mukhtar Master, chairman of Children of the Ghetto, said: “I am delighted that Preston Council have agreed to our request to fly the Palestinian flag. The gesture is small however its symbolism and meaning is monumental and historic.”

The group’s secretary, Ismail Timol, added: “I am absolutely delighted and overwhelmed by the council’s decision to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

“Considering the horrific death and destruction that they are going through, I have no doubt that this unprecedented news will reach the people of Gaza and give them some type of comfort.

“I can proudly say that my city of Preston stands shoulder to shoulder with Palestine.”

On Saturday, campaigners will meet for a demonstration and a march. People will gather in Preston’s Flag Market from about 4pm and will later march through the streets, before a rally is held in the Flag Market.