DEMONSTRATORS who took to the streets of Southampton in their hundreds to condemn the violence in Gaza have pledged to continue their campaign.

More than 350 people marched through Southampton chanting “Free Palestine” during the demonstration, staged to draw attention to the on-going crisis.

Hundreds of people have lost their lives in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as the two sides battle over the territory.

The demo, the second to be staged in the city in the last week, saw protesters march from

Southampton Guildhall before reaching the BBC South headquarters in Havelock Road where the chanting grew more vociferous. The protest, which took place yesterday, attracted significantly more people from a number of nationalities than the previous march on Tuesday.

It came as the conflict saw its bloodiest day of fighting yet, with 87 Palestinians killed by Israeli shells yesterday.

Throughout the Southampton march there was a small police presence to ensure the protest passed off without incident.

Abdullah Cattel, who organised both Southampton marches, said the protests were the “start of a movement”.

He said: “We are holding these demonstrations because the Palestinian people are being upset and besieged on a constant basis.

“As humans we cannot stand by and let this happen – it’s unacceptable.

“It hurts. We are praying for these people. We need to unite everyone.

“This is not just a lone protest, this is the start of a movement. We will not stop until the Palestinian people are free and given back their human rights.

“We will keep going with different projects and demonstrations until we see those walls come down.”
Juman Asmail, 22, from the Students for Palestine group at the University of Southampton, said: “I am Palestinian but because my family were ethnically cleansed in 1948 we cannot go back to visit. 

“If this happened somewhere in Europe the whole world would be watching.”

Meanwhile, more than 15,000 people turned out for a pro-Israel rally yesterday.

The Rally for Israel event in London was one of many across the world showing support for the country and its right to self-defence.

The rally, which was titled Yes to Peace – No to Terror, took place outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington High Street.

Supporters waved Israeli flags during the demo as an act of solidarity.