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Hundreds of Bristol pupils take part in a 'School Strike for Palestine' rally

Hundreds of school children and their parents gathered for a rally at College Green in solidarity with the children of Palestine

By Milan Perera, Deputy Editor

Hundreds of school children from Bristol area took to the streets and gathered for a rally at College Green on Friday, November 3 in solidarity with the Palestinian children who were killed and injured in the recent military strikes.

 The event was organised by School Strike for Palestine, a collective of parents in Bristol, with the support of Bristol Stop the War Coalition, Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Green Party.

The rally was attended by hundreds of school children and their parents who held placards and banners calling for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza. Pupils from various local schools took turns to address the rally and express their concerns on the current situation in Palestine. 

One of the pupils addressing the rally - Milan Perera

 The rally began at 11am and finished around 1pm. Among those who addressed the rally were pupils from local school such as Redland Green School, Montpelier School, Brunel Academy and Cotham School. The speakers represented a range of ages - from Reception to Sixth Form, which included some personal accounts of family members being affected by the humanitarian crisis.

There was a play area for younger children to take part in drawing and colouring during the proceedings. A petition was signed demanding the Bristol MPs to call for a ceasefire. After the rally, the signed petition was delivered to City Hall when the protesters marched towards the entrance of the building.

In a statement issued regarding the ongoing conflict, Carla Denyer, Member of Parliament for Bristol Central and Green Party co-leader, urged Bristol’s four Labour MPs to join the Greens in calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict. She said: ‘It is disappointing that none of the MPs who represent Bristol have joined international calls for a ceasefire. Three quarters of British people want an immediate ceasefire and this sentiment is clear on the ground in Bristol with thousands taking part in peaceful demonstrations over the last few weeks.’ 

Younger children taking part in drawing and colouring during the rally - Milan Perera

 On the railings of the City Hall hundreds of ribbons were tied for the children died during the conflict. According to School Strike for Palestine, they are determined ‘to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis in the region.’

Protesters marching towards City Hall

 Also addressing the rally was Noor Khashaba from Friends of Palestine, a student-led society at the University of Bristol. Speaking to Epigram, the final-year Law student said: ‘We are happy to be here. We are happy to have such a good turnout with the younger generation. We hope it continues. We need to continue to show solidarity with the Palestinians and continue to ask for a ceasefire.’

Noor Khashaba from Friends of Palestine addressing the rally - Milan Perera

 Regarding the mass school walkout, a Department for Education spokesperson said: 'Children should be in school. While we recognise these young people should be able to peacefully express their views, we do not condone them missing out on their education.' 

School Strike for Palestine states that they will continue to hold demonstrations outside City Hall every Friday until MPs call for a ceasefire.

Featured image: Milan Perera

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