Dramatic decline in numbers at anti-Israel Al Quds march in central London
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Dramatic decline in numbers at anti-Israel Al Quds march in central London

Rally to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism was one quarter of the size of the previous pre-lockdown rally.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

2J5PHNP London, UK, 24th Apr, 2022. The annual Al-Quds march held in solidarity of Palestinians, occupation of their land and the end of the Zionist apartheid regime returns after the pandemic. Credit: Eleventh Hour Photography/Alamy Live News
2J5PHNP London, UK, 24th Apr, 2022. The annual Al-Quds march held in solidarity of Palestinians, occupation of their land and the end of the Zionist apartheid regime returns after the pandemic. Credit: Eleventh Hour Photography/Alamy Live News

The first anti-Israel Al-Quds Day march in central London post-lockdown saw a dramatic decline in numbers turning out to support the controversial event.

Sunday’s march, which is organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), saw around 1,000 activists take part in the march from outside the Home Office to Downing Street.

Previous turn-outs at the annual event initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism and Israel, have been three or four times the size.

As this year’s event begun marchers held aloft Palestinian flags and others anti-Israel placards.

But there was no sign at the front of the parade of Nazim Ali, who had led previous Al Quds Day marches, and who once infamously attempted to blame the Grenfell Towers fire on “Zionist supporters of the Tory Party.”

A counter-protest held by a small number of pro-Israel demonstrators walk with police protection close to the Al-Quds procession. The annual march held in solidarity of Palestinians, occupation of their land and the end of the Zionist apartheid regime returns after the pandemic. Credit: Eleventh Hour Photography/Alamy Live News

Those in attendance were instead led led on the march by the IHRC’s Raza Kazim.

Two individuals linked to the Palestine Action group, who had travelled down from Oldham, were also seen on the demo.

The demo had previously seen flags of the Hezbollah organisation frequently raised, before Home Secretary Priti Patel’s 2019 full ban on the terror group in the UK.

As usual members of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group were given a place at the front of the parade, and at one stage in a ritual designed to attract media coverage, they were photographed setting Israeli flags alight.

A small group of pro-Israel activists staged a counter march without too much incident, as Metropolitan Police officers looked on.

Ahead of the parade the IHRC had attempted to promote the first Al Quds Day event since before lockdown as being “back by popular demand”.

The charity claimed the parade was a “chance to counter the violent extremism of the Zionist ideology”, and added that Israel “often escalates its attacks” during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

The demo had previously seen flags of the Hezbollah organisation frequently raised, before Home Secretary Priti Patel’s 2019 full ban on the terror group in the UK.

Unlike previous years, this year’s parade attracted a series of relatively low-profile speakers.

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