A Bath protest for a ceasefire in Palestine has called for local politicians to do more on the issue.

Organisers say hundreds of people attended the march on Saturday, 18th November, which went from Bath Abbey to Queen’s Square. Among the speakers who addressed the demonstration at Queen’s Square was Palestinian student Johyna Ballout.

Hundreds lined the streets of Bath to protest the war in Gaza.
(John Wimperis)

She said: “Israel has physically destroyed Gaza but in the hearts of the people Palestine has never been larger. Everywhere around the world, including right here in Bath, people raise the Palestinian flag and chant, in our thousands and our millions, we are all Palestinians.

“As they are successfully carrying out genocide, they are losing in the eyes of humanity.”

Dr Mohammed Alruzzi, a Palestinian from Gaza now living in Bath, told the demonstration: “It’s not just about Palestinians; it’s about all of us, our freedom of expression. It’s about the complicity of our politicians. It’s crucial for each of us to fight for our rights, raise our voices, participate in demonstrations, and protest for Palestine and justice.”

Protestors took to the streets of Bath to protest the war.
(John Wimperis)

The protest was organised by Bath Campaigns Network, Bath Friends of Palestine and Bath University Islamic Society. Supporting groups were Bath Stop War, Rethinking Security, Bath Trades Union Council and Amnesty groups.

Jane Samson, of Bath Campaigns Network, called the conflict “an avoidable tragedy” and said: “A ceasefire saves lives.”

She added that the Green Party and Liberal Democrats both supported a ceasefire in Gaza and said: “We call for Bath and North East Somerset’s Labour, Conservative and Independent councillors to show the courage, leadership and compassion we expect from our elective representatives and to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“We are organising further marches and local actions linking in with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. We will be holding a peaceful vigil for all the innocent civilians who have perished, whatever their religion or ethnicity, at 4pm on Sunday November 26. All welcome.

“We urge people to join us in order to put further pressure on local politicians. If we stand by and do nothing, what message does this send to powerful governments?”

The march followed a previous protest in the city on Saturday November 4, where film director Ken Loach spoke. He said: “We are witnessing a massacre of the innocents. The attacks by Israel on the people of Gaza are a collective punishment of a people who have been oppressed for many decades. The attack on Israel on October 7th was an atrocity, but it does not justify this disproportionate response.

“When our politicians collude in this crime against humanity we must speak out and demand an immediate ceasefire.”

In the attack on October 7th by Hamas, the group which runs Gaza and is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK, the group crossed into Israel and killed 1,200 people and took over 200 others hostage.

More than 13,300 people have since been killed in Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza — including more than 5,000 children — according to figures from Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The UK government and opposition Labour Party have resisted calls for a ceasefire in the conflict, arguing this would leave Hamas infrastructure intact, instead calling for “humanitarian pauses.”

LDRS, John Wimperis