Thousands unite for 'Free Palestine' demonstration in Preston city centre

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Thousands of people gathered in Preston city centre today in solidarity and support of the people of Palestine following a surge of violence in the region that left around 250 people dead.

At least 227 Palestinians and 12 Israelis have been killed since fighting began on May 10 after weeks of rising tension. A ceasefire was agreed to on Friday, with both the Israel military and Hamas militants claiming victory.

The 'Free Palestine demonstration in front of the Harris Museum was one of many taking place worldwide, from London to Syndey, today.

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Ismail Timol, one of the organisers from the campaigning group Children of the Ghetto, said: “The aim of the rally and march is to raise awareness. We hope that people can join us in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

MP Cat Smith speaking at the demonstration in LancasterMP Cat Smith speaking at the demonstration in Lancaster
MP Cat Smith speaking at the demonstration in Lancaster

“What is currently happening in Gaza is nothing short of a genocide, where innocent women and children are being massacred.

“The attacks on worshippers at Masjid Al Aqsa, Jerusalem in the last few days of the Holy month of Ramadhan was totally unacceptable.

“The forced evictions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem is tantamount to ethnic cleansing. All of the above actions by Israel needs to be condemned in the strongest of terms.”

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Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith was among those expressing support for the Palestinian people. At a rally in Lancaster, she said: "Great to see hundreds of local people join the rally for peace and justice in Palestine and against all racism. As your MP I’ve received hundreds of pieces of correspondence on Palestine from local people in the past few days.

"I welcome news of the ceasefire. It offers hope to the people of Israel and Palestine that this devastating escalation of violence will come to an end.

"But now we must urgently work for justice. There is no military solution to this situation. We must establish a meaningful peace process that ensures a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel becomes an achievable prospect."

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