Today I attended the rally in Belfast from botanic gardens to the US consulate in solidarity with Palestine. It was great to see so many political activists from different political organisations leave their differences aside for a day and come under the one banner in solidarity with Gaza and in protest of the genocide and war crimes that is being carried out by the Zionists.
To be honest I think the pick up has been slow in regards to the protests but they now seem to be gaining momentum and I hope that this continues. There have been several protests in the city centre at the city hall, Invest NI, the BBC and the US consulate. The protest at the city hall was attacked by loyalist flag protesters waving the butchers apron and the Zionist flag. I cant understand why loyalists support Israel, it seems to be clearly reactionary in response to Republicans supporting Palestine. I can see no logical explanation coming from any loyalist representative that would provide reason for such support.
In the west of the city there have been several isolated protests by various political parties but as of yet there has been no unified approach to the protests. Although the work done so far by the various groups have been good.
RNU has painted a mural and organised several white line pickets.
éirígí, the largest alternative Republican group has had a protest at Sainsburys calling for a boycott of Israeli products, theY have painted a mural, protested at the BBC, Invest NI and Caterpillar and their members have been seen at all the demonstrations. Their banners are also very impressive and seem to pop up everywhere! What impresses me about éirígí is that they don’t show up with their party flags and literature that you are bombarded with at these events in the city centre and they appear solely concerned with showing support for Palestine rather than their own political gain. I have to take my hat of to them for that as this is a time that many organisations will capitalize on the current situation for their own PR purposes.
SF has organised several white line pickets, a vigil at the old Andytown barracks site and a 24 hour fast on the Whiterock Rd. All this has been very good in raising awareness and I am sure that their grass root activists are genuine while their leadership can be seen meeting Zionists and throwing their weight behind Caterpillar. On twitter I have constantly asked SF activists, reps and elected reps will they withdraw their support for Caterpillar and it is like hitting my head against a brick wall. No one has given me an answer! Its not that difficult of a question but obviously these people are afraid to speak against party leadership…what a shame. I hope SF continue with what they are doing in terms of highlighting whats going on but they need to withdraw their support for Caterpillar or else it will all be done in vain.
There has also been a independent camp at Andytown barracks. Gerry Carroll spoke at this and spoke very well. Gerry has been good at organizing although a lot of this has been city centre based which is understandable.
I think what needs to happen now is a unified approach both locally and in the city centre. The boycott needs to be constantly pushed as this is having an impact on the Zionists.
The trade unions should find its balls and get local workers to refuse to stock the shelves with Israeli products.
I look forward to the next protest.