MORE than 100 people gathered in Reading this weekend for a peaceful rally ‘in solidarity with the people of Palestine’.

The rally, organised by the Reading Muslim community organisation, a network tailored to the needs of Islamic faithful in the town, took place on Saturday (October 21) at Forbury Gardens.

Organisers said the rally was staged in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza following a recent flare-up in the Israel-Palestine conflict, triggered when fighters from Hamas the ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’ attacked civilians in Israel on Saturday, October 7.

Reading Chronicle:

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According to causality figures from the BBC, nearly 2,700 people have been killed in Gaza and 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since the Hamas attacks.

Reading Chronicle:

People gathered around the bandstand holding Palestine flags and posters. One poster read: “Stop the war on Gaza” while another read “Stop the genocide.”

Chants were shouted throughout the rally including: “Free free Palestine”, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” ”One, two, three, four - occupation no more,” ”Gaza, Gaza, don’t you cry - we will never let you die,” and ”In the thousands, in the millions - we are all Palestinians.”

Speaking at the event, one of the organisers said the rally is about ‘standing up for the oppressed’.

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Reading Chronicle:

“This rally is not about antisemitism,” he said. “It’s not about taking sides. It’s about standing up for those who don’t have a voice.

“This is an issue of the oppressed, this is nothing do to with Muslims vs Jews - this is to do with justice.

“Gaza is under siege, 2.2 million people, three times the size of Reading, is under siege. Their electricity, their water, and their medicine has been cut off.

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“The entrance into Gaza has been blockaded.”

He continued: “The media will make you think this is a war between two religions but it’s not – we’re standing up for the oppressed just like we did for Ukraine.

“We will stand up for the rights of those in Gaza.”

Speaking to the Reading Chronicle, local resident Colin, a local resident, is a member of a pacifist peace union, said: “Whatever the situation in Gaza, Israel - I’m against state war.

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“However it gets resolved can only happen when working people are happy living together.”

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) aims to rescue 200 people who have been taken hostage by Hamas fighters when they entered Israel from Gaza and raided surrounding settlements.

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Reading Chronicle:

The IDF has urged approximately 1.1 million Palestinian citizens to evacuate Gaza in an effort to target Hamas fighters, but that request has been called 'impossible to implement' by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell – leading to fears of escalating deaths.