Hundreds of protestors took part in a ‘Free Palestine’ march through Oxford city centre last Monday. Marchers were seen walking from Magdalen Bridge to Carfax Tower on Monday afternoon. The protest involved the Oxford Palestinian Solidarity Society and the Oxford Muslim Community Initiative (OMCI), as well as local residents and other community groups including Oxford University students.

The protest, which around 200 people participated in, temporarily slowed down traffic, when some protestors sat on the road near Carfax Tower blocking traffic.

The protest follows a week of violence across Israel and the Gaza Strip, with the UN claiming that at least 174 people have been killed and over 1,100 people have been wounded in Gaza, by Israeli air strikes since ‘Operation Protective Edge’ began last week.  UNICEF also reported on Sunday that of those killed in Gaza at least 33 have been children. Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Force said that Hamas has fired over 1,000 rockets at Israel in the past week, with no fatalities reported at present although four Israelis have been seriously injured.

Speaking on behalf of the Oxford University Arab Cultural Society, Omar Shweiki, who attended Monday’s protest, told Cherwell, “Oxford students, along with hundreds of other local citizens, gathered yesterday to stand with the Palestinians, an occupied and besieged people, who yet again are being subjected to incredible violence and destruction.

“In Oxford we are making it clear that Israel cannot continue to flout international law and deny Palestinian rights with impunity and that we will continue to build the movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its international obligations.

“Citizens around the world know that this latest assault on the Palestinian people is not the exception, but the rule of Israeli apartheid and that this persecution will not end until the Palestinians are free.”

Daniel Young, a student at Balliol college who also attended, commented, “Like many others who were there, I attended the demo because of the most recent Israeli attack on Palestinians in Gaza. I thought it was really inspiring how many turned out, and from all different backgrounds and ages, city residents and university students, to speak with a unified voice for justice. I hadn’t seen this kind of demo before, this representative of the community in Oxford.”