David Rosenberg posted the following comment on a different article, as a report of today’s demo:
“Just got back from the demo in London which was massive – probably three times as big as last week, or more, which on my estimate of last week (25,000) means probably more than 80,000 on a freezing cold day – snowing at one point!
The positives were it was again very mixed in terms of ages and ethnicities, more trade union banners this week – and very militant. There was a vibrant atmosphere. Lots of Jewish anti-war protesters among the crowd, which was acknowledged from the platform, which also included Jewish speakers.
Very important that it was a massive turnout as tomorrow the Board of Deputies are organising a big pro-Israel rally to which they will be bussing people in for from far and wide.
Hope the organisers are sensible enough not to hold a another march next week but give themselves a breathing space to build for an even bigger one in maybe two/three weeks time. You can’t turn out huge numbers week after week.
Some of the negatives that need to be addressed:
* The stewarding was very poor. The failure to move people on past the Israeli embassy as darkness was falling and the riot police were tooling up made a confrontation almost inevitable and will give the media an excuse to skew the reports around the violence rather than the numbers, strength and demands of the demo.
* Although the vast majority of placards were clearly in line with the demands of the demonstration (end the siege, stop the killing) there were more than a sprinkling of placards this week with Nazi analogies etc that were more than borderline antisemitic and will be used by opponents to discredit the protest. Again the organisers/stewards need to think about how to deal with this.
* The SWP colonised a large section of Speakers corner where the march was gathering and were bellowing puerile slogans through their megaphones at the demonstrators as they arrived, appealing to them to “destroy Israel” (and presumably among them the Israeli anti-war movement) and calling on Zionists to “Go back to New York”. Not sure which aspect of socialist theory they think that comes from. But if they think the problem is Israeli/Jewish people rather than the oppressive Zionist state then they really have a lot of learning to do.”
See also the BBC, who say: “The Metropolitan Police says 20,000 people marched but the BBC estimates the figure could be as high as 50,000. ”
Picture at the top of the article by Ellis Sharp.