Hundreds of individuals participated in a march through Keir Starmer’s district and demonstrated outside his Camden office on Saturday, expressing disappointment in the Labour leader’s failure to urge for a ceasefire.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign coordinated an event that included over 100 local protests throughout the country on Saturday instead of organizing a national march in the capital.
Hundreds of people in Camden Town marched in the rain and demanded a ceasefire. At two moments, the group briefly chanted “Keir Starmer is a wasteman” and many carried signs featuring the Labour leader. Cars honked and cafe employees paused their work to applaud and join in the chants as the protest moved up the bustling main street.
Claudia Manchanda, who is 52 years old, is currently receiving palliative care. Despite undergoing chemotherapy just two days ago, she participated in the protest. She stated, “I want to stand on the correct side of history. I refuse to be a bystander.”
I am present because I am extremely upset, disgusted, and horrified by our political leaders. They do not consider a ceasefire to be the top priority.
A resident of the area, she has supported the Labour party in past elections. “I have been let down and do not see them as an effective opposition against the Conservative party,” she expressed her disappointment.
“Camden has voiced their opinion against genocide, expressing concern for the well-being of innocent civilians and infants. They acknowledge the atrocities committed against humanity.”
Jacquie Woods, a 59-year-old retiree, expressed her support for the Labour party and stated that she has consistently voted for them throughout her life. She also believes that Labour leader Keir Starmer is involved in the ongoing genocide in Palestine.
“Every day, innocent children are losing their lives in Palestine and the global community is turning a deaf ear.”
Woods grew up in Northern Ireland. “I’m an Irish Catholic. I was born in 1964 and lived in an occupied territory for most of my childhood. I witnessed awful stuff as a consequence. It was a lot less than what is happening in Palestine but it was a similar situation. Indiscriminate murder by the state,” she said.
Starmer has been heavily criticized for his management of the humanitarian emergency in Gaza, which has been under constant attack from Israeli forces since October 7. On Wednesday, 56 out of 198 Labour members of parliament went against the party leadership and voted for an immediate ceasefire. Jess Phillips, the shadow minister for domestic violence, was one of 10 frontbenchers who either stepped down or were removed from the shadow cabinet.
After the vote, Starmer expressed disappointment that his party colleagues did not support his stance. However, he later stated that his main concern was the situation in Gaza, rather than dealing with divisions within the Labour party.
Fakrul Islam, a 53-year-old self-employed resident, joined the protest with his family. His daughter, who preferred to remain anonymous, expressed their desire for a ceasefire due to the loss of innocent lives. She stated that the children are not at fault and should not be labeled as terrorists.
72-year-old Michael Kalmanvitz, a retired individual, participated in the protest with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. He expressed that there is a large number of Jewish individuals showing their support for Palestine in both the US and at the protest. He also mentioned efforts being made to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.
“Judaism is a religion; Zionism is a political movement. They are not the same.”
According to Marek Edelman, a prominent figure in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, being Jewish means standing with the oppressed and never the oppressor. He noted that there are numerous Jewish individuals who share this perspective.
In another part of London, approximately 100 demonstrators gathered in the middle of Waterloo station and chanted for an immediate end to hostilities. A significant number of police officers quickly arrived and the protesters were forced to leave the station, with at least two individuals being physically removed.