Starmer facing first major protest of his new government

  • Post last modified:July 5, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Keir Starmer has only just walked into 10 Downing Street, and the Labour Party into government, but already they’re facing the first protest of their reign.

Palestine: on the election agenda and back on the streets

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to converge in London on Saturday 6 July to demand the new Labour government ends UK complicity with Israel’s genocide in Gaza. It’s the 16th major London March for Palestine since October, and it comes directly after the general election.

Starmer’s government will be pushed to call for immediate ceasefire, halt arms sales to Israel, and restore funding to UNRWA. Speakers at the rally include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leanne Mohamad, Mick Whelan (ASLEF), Kamila Shamsie, Steve North (Unison President), Apsana Begum MP, and Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta.

Despite the genocide in Gaza being buried by both main parties and much of the media, pro-Palestine candidates made serious gains and delivered historic victories from Blackburn to Islington via Bristol and Birmingham.

The march comes after an election campaign in which, as even Peter Mandelson admitted, Palestine has been placed firmly on the ballot. The Labour Party, which came under severe criticism for comments made by Keir Starmer supporting Israel’s “right” to cut off food and water in violation of International law, has lost swathes of votes to independents.

Pro-Gaza MPs

Overall, four pro-Gaza independent candidates unseated Labour MPs including shadow cabinet member and Starmer ally Johnathon Ashworth in Leicester. The Greens, who stood on a pro-Palestine ticket, also gained three seats and over 300 of their candidates candidates signed up to all of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) candidate demands.

Elsewhere, Stop the War Founder member Corbyn won a massive victory in Islington North, while Leanne Mohamad came within a whisker of unseating Wes Streeting in Ilford and Andrew Feinstein considerably dented Keir Starmer’s majority in Holborn and St Pancras.

Stop the War Coalition said:

Despite the odds, we have emerged from this election energised and emboldened. The new Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, will be well aware of the profound effect our movement has had on the formation of the next parliament and the challenge we pose to him. Now it is time to immediately step up the pressure on Starmer and push him to call for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza and to recognise the state of Palestine.

As the suffering in Gaza increases with more than 38,000 people dead, up to 21,000 children missing and famine on the horizon, it is vital that as many people as possible welcome the new government by demanding an end to the war in Gaza, an end to the genocide and an end to the selling of arms to Israel.

End this, now

Ben Jamal, PSC Director, said :

Palestine has definitely been on the ballot in this election. Many of the results indicated that millions of voters cannot accept the UK takes a complicit role in Israel’s genocide in Gaza. It is a shot across the bows of the incoming Labour Government. It needs to sit up and take notice. It needs to demand an immediate ceasefire, halt arms exports to Israel and restore funding to UNRWA.

The campaign for an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza and a free Palestine will continue with urgency and renewed determination in the new Parliament. We cannot sit back and expect our political leaders to suddenly decide to act in line with international law and the principles of human rights – we will have to push them to do so.

That is why on Saturday, immediately after the general election, we will march on Westminster in our hundreds of thousands. We will campaign throughout this Parliament for the UK to support the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as repeatedly affirmed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

We will also ramp up our work calling for the boycott of complicit companies and divestment by public bodies including universities and local authorities from those companies, with a high profile Divestment Conference planned in London for August 10th. We will not stop until Palestine is free.

Featured image via the Canary

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