Saturday 3 January - Victory to the Intifada! Newcastle!

Saturday 3 January - Victory to the Intifada! Newcastle!



Supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group and its newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined over 400 other people in Newcastle to demonstrate against the Israeli attacks on Gaza and to demand freedom for Palestine at Grey's Monument.

The demonstration was initiated by Palestinians living in Newcastle and supported by a range of organisations including Tyneside Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Tyneside Stop the War Campaign, University Friends of Palestine, Newcastle University Islamic Society, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!/ Revolutionary Communist Group, Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party and a number of community groups.

The opening speaker, from the Palestinian community, emphasised the need for absolute solidarity with the Palestinian right to resistance in their struggle for self determination against colonial occupation. This was followed by a speaker from University Friends of Palestine, who pointed out that Israel had absolutely no interest in recognizing an independent Palestinian state

The FRFI speaker explained why it was fitting that a celebration of Cuban resistance, originally planned from 12-4, made way for such an urgent demonstration of solidarity with Palestine, highlighting Cuba's active solidarity with the Palestinian cause and their shared struggle against imperialism. She compared the solidarity shown by socialist Cuba to the role played by Britain as an imperialist country: 'While socialist Cuba exports doctors and teachers, capitalist Britain exports instruments of repression'. She went on to emphasize that 'British imperialism has consistently colluded with Zionist terror throughout the years of Intifada and that Israel could not survive without the support of US and British imperialism'. The speaker received a spontaneous round of applause when she said: "Israel could not survive without the support of US and British imperialism. In order to fight the occupation of Palestine we need to fight British imperialism." The speech ended with a call to support the third Palestinian intifada called by Hamas from within the heartland of imperialist Britain, by getting out on the streets and targeting key links in the chain of support from Britain to Israel, like Marks and Spencer, Britain's biggest corporate sponsor of Israel and the Labour Party, which has always been a racist, imperialist party and which has supported Zionism since its 1944 conference called for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.



There followed an open mic session where speeches were interspersed with chants of 'Victory to the Intifada!' 'Free, Free Palestine!' '1,2,3,4 Occupation No More! 5,6,7,8 Israel is an Apartheid State!' etc.

It was also highlighted that, although there was a massive turnout and it was an inspirational event, one demonstration alone would not change the situation in Palestine and had to be the start of a movement on the streets of Newcastle to demand an end to all British support for Israel.

There will be a public forum on Gaza and action we can take in Newcastle on Tuesday 6th January, 7-9pm at the Culture Café (above Get Stuffed takeaway), Mary's Place (near Haymarket metro), Newcastle hosted by FRFI. All groups and individuals welcome.

Victory to the third intifada! Free Palestine! 

Saturday 17 January - Victory to the Intifada! Newcastle!

Saturday 17 January - Victory to the Intifada! Newcastle!



On Saturday 17th January there was a rally at Grey's Monument in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the Israeli occupation and siege on Gaza. The rally began at around 12pm and was supported by individual Palestinian people living in the northeast, other individuals and groups including Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, the Women in Black, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! The socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party.

About 300 people attended where there were speeches interspersed with chants of 'Free, Free Palestine!' and 'Resistance is justified, when people are occupied!' One speech in particular highlighted the British governments past and continuing support for Israel, in helping with the creation of Israel, and the need to highlight Britain's and the Labour Party's role in this so that we can apply pressure here in Britain.

"The British government created the first ever Zionist military organisation, the Jewish Legion, formed as part of the British army to help it to conquer Palestine in the first world war. And from 1918 to 1948 Britain occupied Palestine. The British occupation put down all struggles for Arab independence with brutal repression, and at the same time handed out Arab land to Zionist settlers etc…Since the start of the second intifada, the uprising of the Palestinian people, in 2000, the Labour government has consistently backed Israel and blocked resolutions in the EU and UN. They have repeated over and over that Israel's violence is to be blamed on the resistance of the Palestinians. But we say that resistance is no crime – we say that resistance is justified, when the people are occupied."

When the rally finished, 150 of those gathered joined in with a militant, loud and vibrant rolling picket of companies that support Israel. It began at Lloyds TSB on Grey Street where 100 demonstrators occupied the building some carrying on the chants and handing out leaflets to Lloyds customers while others 'died' in the building, wearing bloodstained t-shirts and carrying boards with pictures of the scenes from Gaza and slogans reading 'End British support for Israel'. While the other 50 remained outside handing leaflets to passer-bys. They remained there for 20 minutes until the police came and pushed people out.

Interpal is a relief and development agency and registered UK charity which helps alleviate the agony of people in Palestine. Lloyds TSB, as a clearing bank for the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), has ordered it to cease all dealings with Interpal and refuses to give reasons. Lloyds has threatened the IBB with punitive action if it doesn't comply. Contact Lloyds TSB and express your outrage at their actions against IBB. Eleanor Ross - Corporate Communications This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or CEO Eric Daniels This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The procession then moved to Starbucks who support Israel by sponsoring fund raisers for Israel. This time the police were quicker to respond.

The procession then moved to Schuh which stocks Caterpillar footwear. Caterpillar armoured bulldozers are exported to Israel where they are used as a military tool, destroying Palestinian homes, infrastructure and agriculture and even killing civilians. Caterpillar is also involved in the construction of a separation wall which Israel has built on Palestinian land, ruled as illegal by the International Court of Justice. Contact stockists of Cat footwear and fashion brands SRX Sport and Legendary Raw to demand they stop stocking Cat products. Stockists in Newcastle include: Schuh, John Lewis, Barrats and JJB Sports.

The staff and the security guards tried to stop people entering but the demonstration got in and continued with the 'die-in' until again the police came, dragged people up off the floor and pushed them outside.



It then marched up Northumberland Street to Marks and Spencer making a lot of noise and chanting 'Boycott M&S! They support terrorists!' This time the police were ready and waiting in the entrance way so protestors sat and stood in a circle around the entrance, while others 'died', continuing the chants and speaking about how Marks & Spencer is the biggest British corporate sponsor of Israel. Marks & Spencer is not just interested in trading with Israel for profit like other companies, it is and always has been an unequivocal supporter of Zionism. As early as the 1940s M&S Chairman Israel Sieff openly advocated ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Fifty years later their language has changed but their support for Israel remained steadfast, earning M&S a Jubilee Award from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for its services to Israel.

And then to Mcdonalds which was occupied until the police man-handled people and forcibly dragged them out.

McDonalds chairman and CEO Jack M. Greenberg is an honorary director of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry. According to the Chicago Jewish Community Online (website of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago), McDonalds Corporation is a major corporate partner of the Jewish United Fund and Jewish Federation. Through its Israel Commission, the Jewish United Fund "works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel



The spontaneous march then went back down Northumberland Street and occupied Blacket Street bringing traffic to a stand still. The police turned up again forcing people onto the pathway whilst quoting section 14 of the Public Order Act and imposing a time condition of 2 minutes on the demonstration in that area before they would start arresting people. Demonstrators then decided to move back onto the Monument.

Whilst there it was brought to light that the police had assaulted two young people on the demonstration, a boy aged 13 had his foot deliberately stamped on by police and along with his sister aged 14 were grabbed tightly around the arms and dragged down part of the demonstration. And their mother who was trying to get to her kids to make sure they were ok was also man-handled by the police.

This further angered the crowd who began chants of 'No, No, No to police harassment!' and 'Whose Streets?! Our Streets! Whose police?! Their Police!' The demonstrators then decided to march onto and picket Market Street Police station. About 30 people came to this where they were met by the heavy handedness of the police, who claimed that protestors were causing an obstruction of the pathway and so tried to move them away from the entrance. When challenged on this, as it is a public right of way and there was plenty of room for people to get passed, the police started pushing and dragging people, who refused to move, down the street, and on to the road, where they were told that they were again blocking the way! Protestors were not breaking any laws so this just highlights that the police will blag the law and try and intimidate people in an attempt to stamp out any kind of social disobedience. But chants kept on coming and there were speeches on the importance of being on the streets demonstrating our democratic rights before they are taken from us. There was another time restriction imposed but by then the demonstration had started to die down so it was decided to finish it, especially as one police officer approached two activists and pointed them out as being 'in his opinion the organisers of the demonstration' who would be arrested if anyone was still there at the end of the imposed time limit. This kind of intimidation along with the overall behaviour of the police just shows that they aren't interested in protecting the freedoms we have, but in upholding the governance of the ruling class by trying to squash resistance.

We need to keep up pressure on the British government by being out on the streets.

Victory to the Intifada! End the Israeli Occupation of Palestine! End the Siege on Gaza! 

Saturday 25 April - March against the racist Sri Lankan Government Newcastle

Saturday 25 April - March against the racist Sri Lankan Government Newcastle

The monotony of weekend shopping was broken, when onlookers stopped to watch as over 150 people marched through Newcastle City centre, as part of a series demonstration called by Tamils in Britain.



The Tamil protests followed the killing of over 2,800 Tamil men,women and children in the first two months of 2009 alone, this as part of the Sri Lankan governments 'final' offensive to crush the resistance of the Tamil people. After peaceful and democratic means to redress oppression in civil liberties, language, culture, education, jobs and occupation of Tamil territory where met with brutal military suppression spanning a 30year period, in 1976 Tamils finally took up arms in the fight for survival and self-determination. Since the beginning of 2008, following the Sri Lankan governments unilateral withdrawal from the ceasefire agreement, signed in 2002 between the government and the Tamil Tigers, military aggression against the resistance and the Tamil people was ramped up.

The March finished at the moment with a rally , with speeches and chants. Chants were tirelessly throughout the rally by Tamil women with a wide range of slogans including “Tamil Tigers – Freedom fighter.” Over the four hours chant's were interspersed with speeches including FRFI, who after offering messages of solidarity to Tamils involved in protest that took place the week prior went to make the links between British Imperialism and the oppression of the Tamil people when she said “But Britain and the British Labour party still has blood on its hands even now; it is responsible for licensing £7 million worth of weapons and military equipment for export to Sri Lanka this year alone. Britain is profiting from selling arms to Sri Lanka which are directly being used to kill Tamils right now!” show the Britains role in Sri Lanka is not confined to its colonial past, but is an ever present reality British Imperialism.



Few, if any, passers by were left in doubt why the Tamils and supporters where there. With two enormous helium balloons carrying slogans and Tamil flags or the banners, placards and chants on three or so megaphones made sure the demonstration was lively, militant and energetic.

 

North East Events coming up..

We have street actions and political educational meetings in Newcastle every week – for details call 07858346276 or email frfinortheast@gmail.com

For more information on events in the North East you can also join the FRFI North East e-mail list and the mailing lists of campaigns we are involved in on the following pages:

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/frfinortheast

Tyneside Community Action Against Racism:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/tcar

Palestine Action Group:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/palestineactiongroup

Viva Cuba! Rock Around The Blockade:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/ratbnortheast

or add us on Facebook.com/FRFInortheast

Contact North East FRFI

078 5834 6276
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