Jamaicans march for Palestine
Dozens of Jamaicans took to the streets of downtown Kingston yesterday in protest against the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East, where hundreds of Palestinians have lost their lives and millions more displaced.
Dubbed ‘March for Palestine’, several placard-bearing Jamaicans chanted against Israel’s continuous bombardment in Gaza and the devastation it is causing, especially for innocent women and children.
The march was put on by the Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism (LANDS). The supporters journeyed from the Rae Town jogging course on the waterfront, across from the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre (General Penitentiary), to Flag Circle Park.
“A lot of Jamaicans are aware of what’s going on. But, whereas in the US there are evangelistic Christians who stand united, in Jamaica they are divided,” argued Christophe Simpson, LANDS chairman and secretary.
“This war is not being fought in the name of God. God doesn’t choose some people over others as favourites.”
The protestors also took issue with both political parties in Jamaica regarding their stance on the conflict in the Middle East, which some described as theft and genocide with Israel at the helm.
“We have criticised both the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) and the PNP (People’s National Party). The JLP has taken a stance of supporting Israel, condemning only the things that were done by the Palestinians. But the violence that Palestinians come under, they don’t condemn that,” charged Simpson.
“Meanwhile, the PNP has equated Palestine and Israel, when Palestine is in a colonial relationship where Israel is trying to colonise them. They (PNP) took a ‘both side’ approach, saying they don’t support genocide but they not taking sides. You can’t take a stance like that if you are against genocide.”
The protesters made four demands of the Government. They want Jamaica’s leaders to publicly disclose any State deals made with Israel; officially condemn Israel’s actions; cut diplomatic ties with Israel; and recognise the State of Palestine.
“We know that the Government has made deals, some of them security deals, with Israel, but they won’t disclose the details. So we don’t know if our constitutional rights or our privacy and security are being breached,” Simpson said.