Nakba: Thousands march in London to mark Palestinian mass displacement
Thousands of people marched in London on Saturday commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, which refers to the mass forced expulsion of Palestinians by Zionist militias to make way for the creation of Israel in 1948.
The demonstration, titled "Nakba 75 – End Apartheid, End the Occupation", gathered in the heart of London outside the BBC headquarters before participants made their way to Downing Street, where the office of the British prime minister is located.
"The Nakba was not just a singular event, today we are still living the effect of the Nakba," Leanne Mohammed, a British Palestinian activist attending the rally, told Middle East Eye.
"Seventy-five years ago my family was expelled from their home in Haifa, Palestine, by Zionist militias. They ended up as refugees in Lebanon. Three-quarters of a century later they are still living in that same refugee camp," she said.
The London event was organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and the Muslim Association of Britain.
"We mark the Nakba not just as a historical event but as a continuing process of oppression enacted over the past 75 years through ongoing colonisation of land, enforcement of apartheid and military occupation," said the PSC on its website.
The march was attended by the former leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a lifelong campaigner against the Israel occupation of Palestine.
"Today we marched through London to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba and speak out against the ongoing dispossession of the Palestinian people. End the occupation. Free Palestine," said Corbyn in a message on Twitter.
Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist forces seized more than 78 percent of historic Palestine and expelled at least 750,000 Palestinians from their lands and homes.
Many of those joining the rally were young Palestinians who spoke of the need to continue to remember the Nakba.
"They say 'the old will die, the young will forget', and for my generation of Palestinians we have proven that no one has forgotten and, if anything, our existence is our resistance," one demonstrator told MEE.
More than 80 percent of the Palestinian population was expelled from their homeland in 1948 after Zionist forces killed at least 13,000 people and destroyed over 500 villages and towns.
Nineteen years later, Israel occupied the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestinian not captured in 1948, which remains under Israeli military rule in what is known as the longest occupation in modern history.