A protest organised by the Exeter Friends of Palestine university society and the Exeter branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign saw over three hundred attendants on the 15th May.
Organisations present included the Socialist Workers Party and Exeter Stop the War Coalition, with members of the University of Exeter Socialist Students providing hot drinks and soup to those protesting. Many at the protest held placards and Palestinian flags, with slogans such as “Divest for Palestine” and “End siege on Gaza” being clearly visible, whilst organisers went round handing out flyers and leaflets.
The event began with a two-minute silence in remembrance of those that have died in the recent violence, followed by a series of speeches from guest speakers. Speakers included a representative of the Hands Up Project, a non-profit charity organisation supporting young people in Palestine, and a member of the National Education Union, who made clear that the movement “stands against all forms of racism”, including anti-Semitism. As the event went on, protesters called out various chants, including refrains of “free, free Palestine” and “1 2 3 4 occupation no more”.
The protest, held in Bedford Square between 12pm and 2pm, was part of a larger series of protests across the UK in response to the ongoing hostilities between Palestinians and Jewish people in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. In particular, the event protested the forced evictions of Palestinian people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Eastern Jerusalem, as well as the ongoing attacks on the Gaza strip which have claimed 188 lives at time of writing.