News Walthamstow

Palestine protesters demonstrate outside Barclays branch in Walthamstow

Organisers say a crowd of 250 yesterday called for Barclays to end its investments in companies that supply weapons to Israel

By Marco Marcelline

Protesters gathered outside the Barclays branch on Hoe Street, Walthamstow yesterday (18th November). Credit: Andy Simons

Protesters accusing Barclays of “banking on [Israeli] apartheid” demonstrated in front of the bank’s branch on Hoe Street in Walthamstow yesterday (18th November).

The Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said 250 people attended. The protest, which began at 11.30am and ended at around 2pm, included speakers from the worker’s union Unite, the Muslim Advisory Council, and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee.

Protesters demanded that the bank end its investments and loans to companies that supply Israel with weapons and military technology that is used against Palestinians. According to the PSC, the War on Want, and the Campaign Against Arms Trade, Barclays reportedly provides a total of £3.97billion in loans and underwriting to companies including Raytheon, Caterpillar, and Elbit Systems.

Tony Phillips, the trade union liason officer at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign told the Echo that he was “pleased” at the turnout, adding: “There was a really good, angry atmosphere and the march was very well received by passers-by who clapped… and motorists honked”.

He added that the demonstration, which passed peacefully, had received “no abuse” and that the crowd grew in size as the demonstrators moved from the bank and marched to Walthamstow Town Square.

Explaining why the PSC called the protest, Tony said: “They [Barclays] invest in Raytheon, who make cluster bombs that are used in Gaza; they invest in Caterpillar, who make bulldozers that demolish [Palestinian] homes”. No-one from the bank came to speak to protesters, Tony said.

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Protesters at the demonstration chanted various lines including, “Barclays you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide.”

Credit: Tony Phillips/ Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Asma Khan attended the protest with her husband Sohel and their daughter, and spoke on behalf of MPAC.

Asma told the Echo: “It was so nice to see so many people from so many different backgrounds…and various walks of life. There were hundreds of passionate individuals, and chants echoed through the street for peace and justice. We have to do these protests so things can change.”

Asma added: “This is not a Muslim issue, not a Jewish issue, not even a political issue. This is an issue of human life.”

The protest is the latest in a series of pro-Palestine actions in the borough since the break-out of the Israel-Gaza war. The war has claimed the lives of over 11,000 Palestinians, and began after Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis in a surprise terror attack in southern Israel on 7th October. Last week, over 80 people demonstrated outside Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer’s office in Leytonstone, and called him to back a ceasefire, while over 500 people took part in a vigil at Walthamstow Town Square on Sunday 5th November.

A national demonstration for Palestine is set to take place in central London on Saturday next week, while today (19th November) a “children’s march” took place in Leytonstone in solidarity with Gazan children killed by the Israeli army.

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