Ceasefire rally in Hastings attracts broad community support

Political parties, religious groups and community organisations join rally calling for peace.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A march and rally in Hastings Town Centre this weekend calling for a ceasefire in Gaza will be supported by three political parties as well as a host of religious and community groups.

The Ceasefire Now! march, organized by the Hastings & District Palestine Solidarity Group (HDPSC) takes place on Sunday 21 January starting in Warrior Square Gardens from 2pm, followed by a unity rally in the town centre, with speakers from a range of groups including the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and the newly formed Hastings Independents, made up of former Labour councillors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The focus of the event is on children as it marks the appalling milestone of over 10,000 children killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s bombing campaign 104 days ago.

Hastings banner on display in London march on Saturday 13 JanuaryHastings banner on display in London march on Saturday 13 January
Hastings banner on display in London march on Saturday 13 January

This, the HDPSC notes grimly, is more than the entire school population of Hastings.

There will be speakers from the East Sussex Islamic Association, a vicar, a former Anglican Bishop, a representative of Jewish residents, an arts community representative, trade union representatives as well as children from Hastings Mosque.

‘The breadth of community support demonstrates a cohesive feeling locally that the immense suffering of the Palestinian people is simply wrong and must end,’ said Katy Colley, HDPSC Chair.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘We have been astonished by the number of new members joining our group in the past three months. Every single event we put on - whether it’s a demonstration, talk or a film screening – attracts huge numbers. People across the community are distressed about what they are witnessing in real time and they want to do everything they can to stop it.’

This weekend’s events in Hastings include a banner making workshop on Saturday at the mosque, a big ride for Palestine through the town center and a solidarity stall.

These form part of a national weekend of ‘ceasefire’ actions taking place in over 40 towns and cities up and down the country. Last Saturday was the seventh national march calling for a ceasefire, attracting over 500,000 demonstrators.

Last week, Israel was brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague by South Africa for acts of genocide and breach of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The South African government called on the highest international court to bring forward emergency interim measures to prevent Israel from committing further ‘acts of potential genocide’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

South Africa’s case was laid out in in an 84 page report ahead of the hearings.

So far over 25,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombardment and a ‘total siege’ which aid agencies say has brought on mass starvation and disease, leaving the entire 2.2 million population in food crisis.

Nevertheless, speaking at a press conference following the hearings, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted they would not stop their deadly attacks, even if an interim order was granted by the ICJ: ‘No one will stop us, not The Hague, not the axis of evil and not anyone else.’

‘Gaza has become the defining issue of our times,’ said Katy. ‘It is a mark of where exactly you stand on human rights and international law. In Hastings, as around the country, communities appear more determined than ever to stand up for the sanctity of human life and the rights of all people to live in dignity, safety and freedom.’