Saturday’s demonstration in Hayle united a range of strong voices speaking out against war and occupation

Maddalena Dunscombe

The anti-war demonstration at the G7 was energised and enthusiastic despite attempts by the police to stop the protest taking place at all. It started with a range of strong voices speaking out against war in Yemen, against militarisation and the new nuclear arms race, for independence in Kashmir, against attacks on Rojava and crucially in support of the Palestinians.

There were reports on the destruction of olive farms in Palestine by Israeli soldiers, others of friends being murdered by white phosphorus by the Turkish armies in Rojava. But no matter what was said they all shared the same single point, of course, that the western wars must be stopped. With the presence of climate activists and trade unionists at the rally, the urgency of system change was also made very clear.

Demonstrators were enraged by the news that a bus of other activists had been stopped by the police. Many activists on that bus were members of the Kashmiri community in Derby and had headed down to the G7 to show solidarity with the people in Kashmir, who are currently suffering under Modi’s occupation.

Once the march started, it was followed by a huge number of news reporters. The protestors crossed the road from the Quay and headed up the High Street towards the beach, continually shouting for freedom for Palestine, freedom for Kashmir, informing the townspeople of Hayle who passed by in cars and buses that “occupation is a crime.”

Once the beach was reached, and the march continued towards the stunning view of the Cornish Sea, on the sparkling blue water the big grey warship reminded the protestors why they had come. It was impossible to get close to the warship as the tide came into the estuary – there were some protestors who tried to brave the tied and came back. One man, flying a Palestinian flag in his hand crossed the entire estuary. He walked through the water, waist-deep, and once he reached the other side, he kept walking towards the warship.

The demonstration wasn’t disheartened by the rising tide or by the fact that the war ship was out of hearing-range. Many people used this moment as a photo-op, with journalists and reporters flocking to take a picture of the spectacle: Kashmiri and Palestinian protestors on their knees in the sea, waving placards and flags with their backs to the warship. One man was beating a rhythm on a drum as the chants continued: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!”.

15 Jun 2021

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