‘Derry stands with you, Palestine’ - hundreds attend rally in city

Hundreds of people attended a Palestinian Lives Matter march and rally at the weekend in Derry.

By Brendan McDaid
Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 5:37 pm

Several speakers spoke of their first-hand knowledge of the plight of Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere, while others condemned the latest bombings and aerial attacks prior to the ceasefire last week and said pressure must be applied internationally to ensure the lives and human rights of the people of Palestine are protected in future.

The event was organised by the Derry branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Among the speakers at Free Derry Corner was former Derry & Strabane Councillor and human rights activist Mary Durkan.

Veteran civil rights campaigner Eamonn McCann addresses the Palestinian solidarity Rally at Free Derry Wall on Saturday after last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2120GS – 075

Miss Durkan said: “We have this ceasefire but already we are seeing the limitations of this ceasefire. Now is the time for the international community to stand up, use this ceasefire, negotiations, push for a permanent peace.

“ What does peace, justice look like to the Palestinian people? It’s an end to Israel air strikes; it’s an end to the apartheid regime; it is an end to forced evictions, an end to illegal settlements, an end to occupation, an end to administrative detention.... true permanent peace is an end to all that and more, an end to all that has sadly become the normal way of life for Palestinian people.”

To applause, MS Durkan said: “Our message from Derry to the people of Palestine: We stand with you; we stand with you today; we stand with you every day!”

Various rights campaigners and representatives of different groups addressed the rally, including Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), who urged people to support them to deliver aid on the ground.

Mary Durkan speaking at the Palestinian solidarity Rally at Free Derry Wall on Saturday after last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2120GS – 071

People Before Profit Councillor Maeve O’Neill told those gathered: “At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children have been killed and tens of thousands of families have been displaced in 11 days of the Israeli bombardment “Even though there is now a ceasefire, there is not peace for the Palestinian people.

“Palestinians have been denied basic human rights for over seven decades. But they continue to resist. Their resistance is an inspiration to us all.”

Veteran human rights activist Eamonn McCann spoke of a world awakening to the plight of Palestinians, and said the pressure must continue. “What we have to do is to keep pushing them.... Freedom for the Palestinian people is closer I believe than it has been in the past,” he said.

Following the rally, protesters marched to Guildhall Square before dispersing.