Pro-Palestine protesters vow to continue Northampton marches until MPs do more to address Israel conflict

'If they don't respond, we will continue mass demonstrations to disrupt the town centre, which we don't want to do'

Monday, 24th May 2021, 5:39 pm
Updated Monday, 24th May 2021, 5:42 pm
Protesters take to the streets of Northampton to show solidarity with Palestine on Saturday, May 22. Photo: Mantas Kaupas

The organisers of the pro-Palestine marches in Northampton have warned they will continue until the town's MPs do more to address the conflict with Israel.

Abdul Rakib wants Michael Ellis and Andrew Lewer to talk to him and his fellow protestors about what they are doing about the unrest and to share their frustrations with them.

Until that happens, the organiser said they will keep on closing roads and causing disruption by demonstrating peacefully to put pressure on the Conservative MPs and the British government.

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"We want to send a message for everyone to unite with this cause and understand what's happening," he told the Chronicle & Echo.

"We won't jeopardise our good reputations by going crazy or anything but we just want these MPs to come forward to have a dialogue.

"We want to show our awareness to them and express our own frustration and hear why they are not doing enough for our cause.

"That's our message and this ain't going to stop - we will keep going but we want to avoid doing any unauthorised protests but something might come out of the blue."

The Northampton protests against the Israeli attacks on Palestinians started on Saturday, May 15, with a march organised by the Northamptonshire Palestine Solidarity Campaign attended by around 120 people.

A similar amount joined the second demonstration on Saturday (May 22) called March 4 Palestine, calling for the British government to condemn Israel for the violence.

They are also calling for Sheikh Jarrah - a mainly Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem - to be saved, attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque to be stopped, for the sale of arms to Israel to be banned and for sanctions to be imposed on Israel.

Mr Rakib said the latest march went well and applauded Northamptonshire Police officers for how they handled it - despite the force incorrectly stating afterwards that a protester was fined for setting off a flare.

"It's not just Palestinians or Muslims, there are Christians and others in Palestine and I'm not from Palestine - I'm just a humanitarian," he said.

"This isn't just them being persecuted so we want non-Muslims to be with us to show strength and power to pressure MPs.

"If they don't respond, we will continue mass demonstrations to disrupt the town centre, which we don't want to do, we're just out of lockdown and people want to get on with their lives.

"But we are demanding dialogue and if they don't want to talk to us then these mass protests will continue peacefully."

Mr Rakib said they have received letters from both the Northampton North and South MPs outlining their actions and referring to the current ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

But he is not satisfied with that and wants to talk to them in person and see more actions from themselves and the government against Israel.

"We want to ask them why they are not standing up for human rights and they are not," he added.