London councillor unveils Palestine solidarity banner at East London's 'de facto Town Hall'

London councillor unveils Palestine solidarity banner at East London's 'de facto Town Hall'
2 min read
14 May, 2021
Labour councillor Puru Miah said the gesture was prompted by an email from a local resident.
The banner was raised with the help of local residents [Supplied]

A UK Labour councillor has unveiled a Palestine solidarity banner in London’s East End to show support amid Israel's attempts to forcibly expel Palestinians from East Jerusalem and its assault on Gaza.

Puru Miah, a councillor for London's Mile End district, put up the banner saying "We Stand With Palestine" on a wall in London's iconic Brick Lane thoroughfare.

"The day after security forces stormed the temple mount attacking Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem, I received an email from a resident, asking for condemnation and solidarity with the victims," Miah said in a blog post.

"The email was from a local youth worker, Zak, and it demanded the Palestinian Flag be flown from the Town Hall."

Due to "strict protocols adopted by Tower Hamlets Council, flying the Palestinian flag was not going to happen," Miah said that with the help of the local community, he decided to unfurl the message of solidarity at a place of historic importance to social justice causes.

"Brick Lane is famous as the first port of call for migrant communities in the United Kingdom, our very own Ellis Island," he said.

Aided by several community organisations including the Sisters Forum, artists and the Brick Lane Bangladeshi Restaurant Association, he put up the banner on an abandoned pub next to Christchurch Primary School.

"It was a recognisable symbolic act, doing the banner drop in Brick Lane, at the de facto Town Hall in the Endz. Our local struggle, linked to Palestine and other global struggles, of the long moral arc of the universe, eventually bending towards justice", Miah concluded.

The gesture comes amid growing criticism of the Labour party's leadership, which has been slammed for its lukewarm response to the plight of Palestinians.

Last month, Labour leader Keir Starmer came under fire from British Muslims after withdrawing from a Ramadan event over one of the organisers' support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In a statement posted on Labour's website on Wednesday, Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said: "The escalation of violence in Jerusalem, Gaza, and Israel is appalling. The Labour Party utterly condemns the attacks that have endangered civilian lives and resulted in Palestinian and Israeli casualties, including children."

Read more: Why some activists feel the Labour Party has 'failed' Palestine

In a later statement, she called on Israeli authorities to end the "eviction of Palestinians from their homes," however made no mention of Israeli aggression or the unbalanced scale of the violence.

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