London police arrest Christian protestors at Downing Street Gaza ceasefire demo
Two Christian protesters were arrested near the UK prime minister's residence in London on Friday, after pouring fake blood and putting bloody handprints on the gates of Downing Street in protest against the government's refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Virginia Moffat (58) and her husband Chris Cole (60) from Dorset said that the UK government had "blood on its hands" for refusing to demand Israel end its bombing of Gaza, and called Israel's brutal assault on the trapped population of the besieged enclave "a massacre of biblical proportions".
Israel has killed 21,320 Palestinians since 7 October, according to figures from Gaza's health ministry, with a further 55,603 being wounded. Half of all buildings in the enclave are either damaged or destroyed, with close to two million people being displaced as a result.
In a statement distributed at the protest the married couple said:
"Britain's and Israel’s justification for this slaughter is that Israel is acting in 'self-defence'; [...] This is nonsense. Again and again, leading international lawyers have clearly stated that 'self-defence' cannot justify the slaughter of so-many innocent Palestinians.
"We cannot help being reminded of the Massacre of the Innocents in the Christian Gospels. King Herod, seeking to secure power, ordered the deaths of all the infants in and around Bethlehem. For many years, this occasion has been chosen by Christians involved in work for peace and justice to draw attention to the suffering and deaths of innocent people as a result of war and injustice."
As Israel intensifies its bombardment of Gaza, Palestinian Christian leaders and municipal authorities called off Christmas celebrations. The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem released a statement on 10 November calling on their congregations to stand with "those afflicted in Gaza" and to spend the season in "fervent prayers for a just and lasting peace".
Protests in the UK have been frequent and widespread, as ordinary people have mobilised to voice their opposition to the UK government's pro-Israel stance. International law experts have warned Israeli actions could amount to genocide in Gaza.
The pro-Palestine marches over the past months have been among the largest political demonstrations in British history, with the 11 November march, which coincided with the UK’s Armistice Day, seeing an estimated 800,000 people attend.