Chants of “1,2,3,4, occupation no more” and “Terrorist flags off our streets” battled it out between Quds Day marchers and a counter protest organized by pro-Israel activists outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London on Sunday afternoon.
Quds Day was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to oppose Zionism and the existence of Israel. It has often been the rallying point for frankly antisemitic demonstrations.
This year’s protest was notable for the high number of far-right activists present, who at one point were roadblocked onto a separate street by the police in order to separate them from the main march.
The Saudi embassy was said to be chosen as the starting point by march organizers, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, on the basis that “Riyadh’s growing support for the Zionist regime… has had the effect of isolating the Palestinians and giving Israel the green light to accelerate its injustices.”
The march and counter-protest took place peacefully, with Quds Day marchers singing a uniquely British take on the “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant that included the additional added line “We’ll be sitting in Al-Quds, we’ll have a cup of tea.”
One participant at the protest, who wished to remain anonymous, felt that it was important to be there for “humanity – one way or another people are dying. I want to make a differenc