Saturday November 4th was always going to be different. The three previous Saturdays saw hundreds of thousands take to London’s streets calling for a halt to the illegal carpet bombing of the Ghazzah (we need to stop Anglicising the Indigenous pronunciation if we are serious about emancipating the land and her people).
The protesters’ chants and calls for a ceasefire fell on deaf ears; not only did the bombing continue – it became more vicious and unashamedly criminal.
Since October 7th the settler colonial state of Israel has boasted of dropping 25,000 tonnes of explosives, equivalent to two nuclear bombs, on a stretch of land measuring 6 kilometres wide and 40 kilometres long and inhabited by 2.3 million people. Ghazzah is dense, and its borders cruelly sealed shut by Israel.
Israel has hit 12,000 targets which appear almost without exception civilian in nature: 27 ambulances, 105 medical facilities, including 4 direct hits on hospitals; 8,500 residential buildings have been flattened, 220,000 residential units have been destroyed, another 40,000 rendered inhabitable; 220 schools have been attacked, 3 universities bombed, and 88 civic buildings smashed; 55 mosques and one church have been turned into rubble. All this destruction equates to roughly 70 tons of explosives per square kilometre, or 10 kilogrammes per resident.
The human cost is stomach-churning: 9,500 murdered, including 4,000 children – or one child slaughtered every ten minutes, and 2,500 women.
An additional 1,250 children are reported missing. At least 881 multi-generational families have been wiped out. It is assumed several hundred fatalities are trapped in the debris and wreckage. There are 24,000 known injured.
The same perpetrators have also unleashed snatch squads and militia on the occupied West Bank. The result: 132 Palestinian dead, including 41 children between October 7th and November 2nd. This ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is being openly permitted, encouraged, and facilitated by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
With the situation in Ghazzah becoming more dire and western governments brazenly complicit in a sadistic killing spree that many are calling genocide, a fourth national protest march was badly needed. The October 28th protest attracted an estimated 300,000, surpassing any previous demonstrations in support of Filastin (again, let’s decolonialise the Indigenous pronunciation).
And yet it was decided the November 4th protest would be dispersed across the country, hidden out of sight in villages and towns where small – mainly unnoticed – gatherings would occur.
Trafalgar Square would serve as a meeting point for any London based initiatives, a lazy footnote to the day’s focus. The energy of resistance was being dispersed and this decision will probably be judged as a wrong turn by future activists and academics.
The only certainty about Saturday November 4th – more people would die in Ghazzah.
Resistance finds its own form, shaped by circumstance and opportunity. It can be corralled for only so long, and on Saturday it broke free. All week there had been brutal images streaming on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, Telegram and Signal of a besieged Ghazzah and her slain people. Most came with a trigger warning.
Yet mainstream news outlets continued to attempt to rationalise conduct that was clearly amoral and murderous. On occasion they even simply tried to deny it. Western governments corruptly and fraudulently tried to justify it. In 1970 historian and philosopher Howard Zinn concluded that during certain periods civil disobedience is ‘not our problem; our problem is civil obedience.’ For those that made their way to the capital on Saturday, Zinn’s words served as a wakeup call.
By noon it was apparent police resources were stretched. Police vans sped between locations; officers were visibly confused and disorganised while protesters moved freely and with purpose.
Humanity and solidarity had shown up and the police were losing control.
By 1pm Oxford Circus was at a standstill as hundreds staged a sit-in that lasted for over an hour and resulted in a dozen arrests.
By 2pm a second sit-in followed at Piccadilly Circus, where two heavy-handed arrests were made:
By 3pm Trafalgar Square was gridlocked with large crowds spilling onto Cockspur Street, The Strand, St Martins Place and Charring Cross roundabout. The area would remain impassable for traffic into the evening. By 4pm hundreds defied police and staged a sit-in at Charing Cross train station, while another group occupied Kings Cross train station at 6pm.
The acts of resistance, organised by The Free Palestine Coalition and comprising @ukblm @SistersUncut and @BlackJewishA, messaged the world: “no business as usual while Britain is supporting a genocide that has killed 9,000 people”.
By 10pm police had made 29 arrests related to the day’s actions – that equates to roughly one arrest for every 330 deaths.
One is left wondering how much lower that ratio would have been had the decision to ‘localise’ protests not been made.
It is currently estimated 230 people were killed in Ghazzah and 4 in the West Bank during Saturday 4th. Each has a name and a story, and they shouldn’t be remembered solely for their homicidal deaths, but also for who they would have become and what they would have achieved.
On November 4th, for a second time in seven days, the Metropolitan Police issued a Section 14 of the Public Order Act to prevent people participating in pro-Palestinian protests or gathering outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington.
“I start from the supposition that the world is topsy-turvy, that things are all wrong, that the wrong people are in jail and the wrong people are out of jail, that the wrong people are in power, and the wrong people are out of power.” Howard Zinn.
*Article originally published in Real Media.
(Photos: Real Media and Pixabay)