Manchester Peace Campaigners in Palestine
Nine activists from the Mancester area went out to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement in April to take part in nonviolent direct action against the Israeli occupation. Their visit happened to coincide with the stepping up of the occupation as tanks moved in to Bethlehem, Jenin and Ramallah. The peace activists stayed in refugee camps in the West Bank, despite the fact that the Israeli Defence Force had designated the area a "closed military zone" and the British consulate had offered armoured cars to take them safely home. Some of the activists issued a statement saying that the Palestinians had no option to leave so therefore they would stay in the refugee camps until they were due to fly home.
Meanwhile supporters in Manchester organised solidairty actions. "Die-ins" were staged at various places in the city centre including one outside the News International (Murdoch's media company) offices on Piccadilly. The purpose of these die-ins was to bring the suffering of the Palestinians to the streets of Manchester. Literally thousands of leaflets were distributed to passers-by outlining the nature and implications of the IDF's attacks on ordinary Palestinian people.
ISM are coordinating more nonviolent support actions in the West Bank during July and August. Again, Manchester residents will there, helping to keep peace.
Photo and info from "Loombreaker" #29
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© Networking Newsletter (June/July 2002)