|Trade at M&S was severely disrupted twice|
Today Liverpool saw its sixth major demonstration in support of Palestinians since Israel’s genocidal ‘Operation Protective Edge’ began three and a half weeks ago. Hundreds rallied outside BBC Radio Merseyside, before a sizeable splinter group went off around town, targeting Israel-supporting corporations, including Barclays, which they briefly occupied.
The new Liverpool Rise For Palestine group – which is primarily growing out of the multi-ethnic Toxteth area of the city – met up at the bombed-out St Luke’s church, where children had their faces painted with fake blood, and placards were exchanged. They marched down Bold Street and onto Hanover Street, where the local BBC studios spread pro-Israel distortions. There, the Rise For Palestine group met up with the demo called by Liverpool Friends of Palestine. Over the course of an hour and a half, the crowd of around two hundred listened to speeches in the pouring rain.
Eventually, Liverpool Rise For Palestine decided to spread their anti-Israel, pro-BDS message around the main shopping areas. The first stop was Schuh, which stocks Caterpillar footwear, and then it was on to Marks & Spencer. Since the store occupation of 24th July, M&S have been quick to lock all but one entrance at the first sight of a Palestinian flag, and this was no exception. The Securitas guard who assaulted an eleven year old girl ten days ago was at the door, and she courageously confronted him over the megaphone, calling on him to come out and apologise. Needless to say, he wasn’t brave enough to do this, and retreated into the store.
The group then moved on to Barclays on Lord Street. This space was occupied for around five minutes, in protest against the bank’s profitable links with the murderous Zionist regime. Shouts of ‘shame’ rang out against the company, as a speaker detailed how they make a killing from the deaths of Palestinians.
From this point on, the roaming protest had police company (presumably summoned by Barclays security staff). This “facilitation” continued throughout a large part of the Liverpool One shopping complex, and back out onto Lord Street. The final stop was another go at M&S.
Until there’s a lasting ceasefire, large protests will no doubt continue in Liverpool. But Rise For Palestine seems like it is putting down roots in a community, which could survive until Palestine is free “from the river to the sea”.